Kafando in the footsteps of his predecessors …

The Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for Burundi, Michel Kafando, has followed in his predecessors’ footsteps in the UN Security Council on Wednesday (July 26th) by calling for an inclusive dialogue and respect for the Arusha Agreement. He runs the risk of incurring the wrath of Bujumbura.

Written by Egide Nikiza, Agnès Ndirubusa and Fabrice Manirakiza and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

Michel Kafando: "An inclusive dialogue is a prerequisite for any resolution of the crisis.

Michel Kafando: “An inclusive dialogue is a prerequisite for any resolution of the crisis.

Michel Kafando, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, calls for dialogue involving all Burundian politicians. He has said that to the UN Security Council on Wednesday (July 26th).
He calls for an inclusive dialogue, a prerequisite for any resolution of the crisis and emphasizes the responsibility of the East African Community States (EAC). Bujumbura government should accede to the insistence of the countries of the sub-region and the African Union, supported by the United Nations, to engage in a dialogue involving the opposition in exile and the internal one. “In my opinion, it is at this price that we will succeed in building confidence among Burundians, guaranteeing credible, stable and democratic institutions and promoting national reconciliation.”
“The Arusha Agreement, a cornerstone”
For this UN Special Envoy, the Arusha Agreement must remain the benchmark standard in the management of Burundi. He stressed that all the non-governmental actors, at his last consultations, recognized its paramount importance and called for its preservation.
As a reminder, this former president of the transitional government in Burkina Faso had received in Bujumbura political actors, representatives of civil society and religious confessions, members of the diplomatic corps…

According to former Burkina Faso President, Benjamin Mkapa, a facilitator in the Burundian crisis, said he had completed his work and the report was sent to President Museveni, the chief mediator of the inter-Burundian dialogue.
Mr Kafando requested the same appreciation from the international community for joint action.

He observes, on the part of Burundian actors, two divergent readings on the socio-political evolution: “The government is confident in its capacity to manage the country’s affairs in serenity and denounces foreign interference.

The opposition and some representatives of civil society mention authoritarian excesses by Bujumbura government. They call for an inclusive dialogue and the suspension of the process of constitutional revision.

“He, however, says political parties and civil society organizations, in favor of the regime have an opposite opinion.
This veteran diplomat reports that the socio-economic situation is deteriorating.

“The tense political situation discourages the commitment of domestic and international private investors.” This situation led to population big move to neighboring countries, which undoubtedly increased the number of refugees, he said.

On the security aspect, he talks about an improvement since the beginning of the year. “Everything seems calm in Bujumbura and the population go about their businesses freely.” He also says: “The recent weeks have been marked by grenade attacks that resulted in several deaths and injuries.

For now, the reasons for these attacks have not been known. “
Mr. Kafando recommends a joint action to encourage the Burundian authorities to “imperatively” engage in the inter-Burundian inclusive dialogue.

At the same time, he calls for wisdom. “I suggest that we bring more discernment into the Burundi issue.




Albert-Shingiro-1-600x403Ambassador Albert Shingiro: “Dialogue is on an evolving trajectory”

The ambassador of Burundi to the United Nations indicates that the process of the inter-Burundi dialogue continues with some progress: “The dialogue is not deadlocked as some people believe. It is on an evolving trajectory.

For Albert Shingiro, the recommendations of the report by the National Commission for the Inter-Burundian Dialogue –CNDI will be combined with the findings of the external dialogue process. This will produce a solid roadmap for peaceful elections in 2020.

He has not forgotten to mention the internal dialogue under the facilitation of the Burundian Ombudsman. He said all these processes complement each other and reinforce the culture of dialogue.
Concerning the constitutional affairs, the ambassador recalled that this issue is exclusively within the sphere of national sovereignty and should not be the subject of debate.

Charles-Nditije-1-600x485Charles Nditije: “The Security Council avoids irritating Bujumbura.”

The President of the of the opposition platform in exile CNARED says the members of the UNSC played a part in appeasement and avoided any question that would lead to frustration. They refrained from taking any measure that could tighten further Bujumbura, which used to taunt everyone and refuse any resolution taken by the UN. “We say to these diplomats: ‘It’s okay, be careful as you’re walking on eggs, the government of Bujumbura is hypocritical and does not let go. It is a way of showing that they are angels. ‘”Charles Nditije says there is no indication that Bujumbura is ready to stop violence and fully engage in the negotiations if there are no drastic measures that are being taken against it.
Anschaire-Nikoyagize-1-600x396Anschaire Nikoyagize: “There is a risk of sacrificing international justice in favor of dialogue.”

For this human rights activist, Michel Kafando’s briefing is without reproach because it relates the positions of different protagonists. This activist welcomes the call for the full involvement of the African States, especially the sub-region solidarity with the United Nations. He also welcomes Mr Kafando’s statement according to which the Arusha Agreement must remain a cornerstone and an inclusive dialogue is the sine qua non for any settlement of the crisis. However, there is a question: “When Mkapa says that his work is over, is his mandate limited to consultations only?”The activist is concerned that there is a risk of sacrificing international justice in favor of dialogue. “It is not for nothing that the government of Burundi accepts the inclusive dialogue on the eve of the opening of investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC).”

Hamza-Venant-Burikukiye-600x400Hamza Venant Burikukiye: “He distorted our message!”
According to the legal representative of the local civil society organization Capes +, Michel Kafando did not transmit correctly the message of the civil society at the meeting of Bujumbura. “He was told that those who should be invited to the dialogue are well known. Not those who are wanted by Burundian justice. “
With regard to the process the Constitution revision, his position is not ambiguous: “They must respect our sovereignty.”