Burundians to always celebrate Mandela as hero, say politicians

While the world celebrates Mandela Day each July 18, Burundian politicians say they will always remember Nelson Mandela as a hero because of his contribution to end the civil war through the Arusha Peace Agreement. Some of them denounce, however, the will of the government to violate it.

Nelson Mandela Former South African President and mediator in the Burundian crisis

Nelson Mandela Former South African President and mediator in the Burundian crisis

Pancrace Cimpaye, spokesman for CNARED-an opposition group in exile, says the platform celebrates this day in pain because the agreement that Burundians inherited from Mandela was “buried” on June 7th with the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Cimpaye regrets the fact that Mandela is no longer alive to help stop the Burundian crisis. “Mandela would do anything possible to ease the political crisis. He did not even hesitate to get the then USA President involved in the process,” he says.

“Mandela legacy still exists.The spirit of the Arusha Peace Agreement remains in the memories of Burundians, the whole region and the international community,” said Léonce Ngendakumana, deputy president of FRODEBU party.

Mr Ngendakumana says the fact that there are Burundians who have accepted to be killed or forced into prisons and exile while fighting for Mandela legacy is a testimony that Mandela will be celebrated forever. He adds that the recent statement of President Pierre Nkurunziza to end his reign in 2020 was motivated by Burundians who fought for the Arusha Peace Agreement.

Abel Gashatsi, chairman of UPRONA officially recognized by the government, says Mandela legacy is still remembered via the Arusha Peace Agreement. “Ethnic quota within different institutions, the establishment of the truth and reconciliation commission- CVR,… are, among others, some of the legacies from the Arusha Peace Agreement signed under the auspices of President Nelson Mandela”.
Gashatsi says Mandela is and will always be celebrated as a hero in Burundi adding that the results of Arusha Peace Agreement are respected.

Nelson Mandela, former South African President, was the mediator in Arusha peace talks. He replaced President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere in 1999. These talks put an end to a decade of civil war in Burundi in 2000. Some politicians argue that the new Constitution adopted on June 7 came to end the Arusha Peace Agreement although others believe it is still valid.