National Security Council urges facilitator in Burundi crisis to respect June deadline

After the meeting chaired by President Pierre Nkurunziza, the National Security Council [CNS] has released a statement in which it calls on the facilitation team in Burundi peace talks to bring back the dialog and respect the deadline set in June.

Silas Ntigurirwa: “CNS urges the Facilitation in Burundi peace talks to bring back the dialogue”.

Silas Ntigurirwa: “CNS urges the Facilitation in Burundi peace talks to bring back the dialogue”.

“The National Security Council invites the facilitation in Burundi peace talks to bring back the inter-Burundian dialogue as Burundians got an opportunity to express their opinions during the sessions organized by the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue (CNDI)”, says Silas Ntigurirwa, CNS Permanent secretary. He also says the council urges the facilitator to take into account the positive developments in Burundi security situation. “The council asks him to end this dialogue as its deadline is set in this month of June 2017”, says Ntigurirwa.

The Permanent Secretary of the National Security Council says the council appreciates the work carried out by the National Commission of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue [CNDI] to collect opinions of all Burundians over the management and future of their country. “The National Security Council calls on the government and other institutions to implement the conclusions of the CNDI report with a view to safeguarding the national sovereignty and respect for the will of the Burundian people”, says Ntigurirwa.

On 12 May 2017, the National Commission for Internal Dialogue (CNDI) submitted to President Nkurunziza an 86 -page report of its work. Bishop Justin Nzoyisaba, the Chairperson of the Commission said the key proposals in the report were the amendment to the Constitution in order to update and ameliorate it and the removal of presidential term limits. Bishop Justin Nzoyisaba also said this report was based on facts and represented the feelings of the majority of the 26,000 respondents across the country.

“June deadline will be an illusion”, says a political opponent

For Sahwanya Frodebu party, the deadline set in June is apparently illusory. Léonce Ngendakumana, Deputy Chairperson of Frodebu, said that the government has not engaged fully in an inclusive dialogue.

“I believe it is time for both the government and opposition to understand the gravity of this crisis to finally and quickly find a lasting solution to this crisis that has rocked the country since April 2015”, he says.

As far as Jean De Dieu Mutabazi, Chairperson of RADEBU party is concerned; he says Burundians cannot keep participating in a dialogue without end. “It must reach a stage where we must sign an agreement based on points converged on. Burundians have expressed different opinions”, he says.

He says the facilitator Mkapa should consider them so that an agreement should be signed. “If he is not able, he may have to officially say so “, says Mutabazi.

The RADEBU chairperson believes the Facilitation in Burundi peace talks may have financial problems. Unfortunately, he says, at the last meeting with EAC Heads of State , the EU, the principal donor and the mediator, Yoweri Museveni, were seen as not waving on the same wavelength.

In his three day -visit in December 2016, Mkapa roadmap was very clear. It was based on consultations initiated in early December. The aim was to reach an agreement by June 2017.

In the recently held summit of EAC Heads of State, the facilitator in the Burundi crisis urged the Summit to put pressure on the Government of Burundi so as to fully engage in inclusive talks with its opponents with a view to reaching an amicable settlement of the ongoing political crisis. “The Government of Burundi remains essential in these talks. Therefore, it should take some confidence-building measures in order to accelerate the resolution of the conflict”, he said.

William Benjamin Mkapa also said the Government of Burundi should re-commit itself to the Inter-Burundi Dialogue and negotiate in good faith. “Despite numerous pronouncements of its commitment to this process, its actions have been invariably to suggest otherwise”, he said.