Burundi opposition denounces Mkapa and calls for inclusion of UN and AU in mediation

Burundi’s opposition platform, CNARED, has said again that former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, facilitator of crisis talks in Burundi, is not fit for the job. It calls on the East African Community (EAC) to include experts from both the UN and the AU in talks to end the Burundi conflict.

Jérémie Minani: “CNARED calls for the mediation that would be composed of UN and AU experts to make it more neutral”

Lorraine Josiane Manishatse Jérémie Minani: “CNARED calls for the mediation that would be composed of UN and AU experts to make it more neutral”

“The CNARED board of directors reaffirms the position of the platform regarding the challenge of the facilitator in the Burundi conflict, former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, following the insulting and partisan remarks he made in Bujumbura on 9 December 2016. Mkapa has disqualified himself from the inter-Burundian dialogue. He has no role to play any longer”, says Jérémie Minani, Communication Officer at CNARED. Minani said CNARED’s board has decided to no longer participate in the activities organized by Benjamin Mkapa as a facilitator. In12 December, CNARED criticized Mkapa for being biased towards the Government.

On 9 December, at the end of a three-day visit to Burundi, Mkapa said the current government is legal and legitimate. “The legitimacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza should not be called into question – those who doubt it are out of their mind”, he said.
Mkapa said the facilitation was rather concerned with creating favourable conditions in Burundi in order to organise free, fair and credible 2020 elections.

“CNARED, however, reaffirms its readiness to take part in negotiations led by the East African community. CNARED’s board of directors decided to ask the senior mediator, Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, to consult with other EAC heads of states to start up a new mediation without delay,” said Minani.

CNARED also called for mediation to include UN and AU experts to make it more neutral. “CNARED has found that only the path of negotiations is the best way to achieve a lasting solution to the current Burundi crisis,” Minani said.
CNARED called on Burundi’s partners to exert pressure on the Burundian regime in order to force it to abandon the path of violence and accept an inclusive dialogue.

“The CNARED board proposes the imposition of targeted sanctions and arms and economic embargoes on the Burundian regime in order to end the cycle of violence the country is currently in”, said Minani.

The Burundi crisis began in 26 April 2015, when the country’s ruling party CNDD-FDD nominated Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for the 2015 presidential election. The opposition and the civil society accused Pierre Nkurunziza of violating the Burundi Constitution and the Arusha Peace Agreement by running for a third controversial and unconstitutional term.
Since then, 700 people have been killed and more than 250,000 of others have been forced to flee the country according to FIDH reports.