The roadmap for an end to the crisis

Facilitator Benjamin Mkapa organized a dialogue session in Arusha. The objective was to announce an agenda for a way out of the crisis.

Written by Agnès Ndirubusa and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

Benjamin Mkapa, during his stay in Bujumbura, on 09 December 2016

Benjamin Mkapa, during his stay in Bujumbura, on 09 December 2016

At the outset, the last session of Arusha was reserved for exiled opponents who had not participated in the consultations that took place in Bujumbura during Mkapa’s visit.

But several opponents in exile gathered in the opposition platform-Cnared, outraged by the declarations of the mediator last December in Bujumbura, decided to snub the invitation to Arusha. As a reminder, it was to the great displeasure of Cnared. Mkapa said he no longer wanted to waste time on the issue of the legitimacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza. “This question has been settled once and for all,” he said.

Thus, out of around 20 opponents in exile that were invited, only six confirmed their participation. Mkapa decided to hold the session despite everything by expanding his list with the opponents based in Bujumbura.

Credible information indicates that the Secretary-General of the East African Community, Libérat Mpfumukeko, allegedly took the telephone and called them one by one and convinced them to participate in the session. A last-minute invitation was sent to politicians based in Bujumbura last weekend. Some of them had already met Mkapa.

In Arusha, Former Tanzanian President wanted to consult the guests differently: the group composed of politicians in exile apart and the second group of those of the opposition coming from Bujumbura. The mediation also met another group the next day, this time in Zanzibar.


Cnared: “The facilitator has no other goals than destroying the opposition.”

Pancrace CimpayeFor Cnared, “This agenda aims to only comfort and strengthen the dictatorship of President Pierre Nkurunziza.”

According to Pancrace Cimpaye, Spokesman for the platform, the invitations to this session demonstrated that the facilitator had no other purpose than bringing down the opposition.

The few members of the platform who participated in this session have registered in this dynamic destruction of Cnared. “This reprehensible attitude also shatters the hope of a whole people waiting for a successful outcome of inclusive talks”.

Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira: ” Cnared has no right to take away the sovereignty of political parties”.

Frédéric-BamvuginyumviraFor the president of Sahwanya Frodebu party, each political party has its obligations. “And we are accountable to our militants, unlike some members of Cnared who do not have political parties to lead”. Bamvuginyumvira emphasizes that his party has always favored dialogue.

“We negotiated with the putschists of 1993 after the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye and we negotiated with Cndd-Fdd as a rebel movement in 2000.” He says Cnared does not have the right to take the sovereignty from its members.

Agathon Rwasa: “It is up to Burundians themselves to find a solution to the crisis in Burundi”

Agathon RwasaFor the First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, Burundians must stop thinking that it is up to the facilitator to find the solution to Burundi crisis. “The facilitator is there only to allow us to meet.”

According to him, it is up to Burundians themselves to find a solution to the crisis that Burundi is going through.
Concerning the establishment of a Government of National Unity, this charismatic leader of the opposition says: “why not, if it is a solution to get us out of this crisis.”

Léonce Ngendakumana: “We were reassured on the agenda”

Léonce-NgendakumanaLéonce Ngendakumana said he was confident enough. “We have been reassured by the points that will be debated in the next sessions”.

As for those who reproached his party for having gone to Arusha despite the injunctions of Cnared, Léonce Ngendakumana says: “Our struggle is not to be within Cnared”. He says, Cnared has no other alternatives to propose to the ongoing dialogue, the reason why he chose the way of the talks that will end the crisis in Burundi.

Alice Nzomukunda: “The agenda for facilitation contains areas of current concern”

Alice NzomukundaThe chairperson of ADR party said she appreciated the meeting with the facilitator. “This determination to succeed in this process is reassuring”. She says the agenda proposed by the mediation contains areas of current concern. “If we can reach an agreement around the whole schedule, Burundi will be able to recover peace and bring together all its sons and daughters in order to relaunch the socio-economic development phase.”

Sylvestre Ntibantunganya: “I am confident of the continuation of the dialogue”

The former president of Burundi said the session went smoothly. He says he is confident of the continuation of the dialogue. “I was able to speak with President Mkapa and I am optimistic. My hope lies in the capacity of the Burundian people to find a solution through dialogue.”

Léonard Nyangoma: “favorable for the continuation of the dialogue”

Leonard Nyangoma: "A warden cannot converse with his prisoner." @iwacuAccording to the president of Cndd party, the main lines of the roadmap proposed by Mkapa are interesting. Léonard Nyangoma said the facilitator promised to report back to the presidents of the East African Community so that together they would decide on the way forward. “The facilitator told us that if the challenges were insurmountable for him, he would resign at the very worst. We hope not to get there and remain optimistic that the dialogue will continue”.

Jean de Dieu Mutabazi: “We are opposed to a government of national unity”

Jean De Dieu Mutabazi“We encourage the mediation to maintain its position on the legality and legitimacy of Pierre Nkurunziza,” said the chairman of Radebu party. He is glad that the circle of opponents, for whom the term of Nkurunziza is not a problem, has expanded.

Jean de Dieu Mutabazi said he was opposed to a government of national unity that would violate the Constitution. “Just as we are opposed to provisional immunity to planners and executors of the 2015 insurgency”, he said.

Abel Gashatsi: “UPRONA proposes the bringing back of dialogue to Burundi”

Abel-Gashatsi-300x237UPRONA party welcomes the efforts made by the mediation in the direction of putting the Burundians on the road to the consolidation of democracy. The president of UPRONA party proposes to bring back the inter-Burundi dialogue to the country.

For Abel Gashatsi, Burundi’s exit from crisis also depends on strengthening relations with neighboring countries and other partners. Mediation should help in this process.

Gaston Sindimwo: “The government will not accept anything that deviates from the predefined area”

Gaston Sindimwo “Burundi must pay its own civil servants as well as its military forces. We are not in Somalia as mercenaries.”For the Vice-President of the Republic, the agenda of these consultations should follow the statements of Facilitator Mkapa during his last visit to Bujumbura. “The debate on the third term is over. Rather, we must prepare for the 2020 elections”.

In any case, according to Gaston Sindimwo, the dialogue must end on the Burundian soil: “The government will not accept anything that deviates from the predefined area”, he concluded.

A roadmap to prepare for the 2020 elections.

This roadmap is supposed to guide the forthcoming debates on substantive issues: presidential terms, security, compliance with the Arusha Agreement and the Constitution, human rights, economic embezzlement, the return of a favorable climate, the question of refugees and the right to freedom of expression, etc. A possible establishment of a government of national unity was also raised.

Reliable sources in Arusha indicate that the session marked the end of the preparatory phase of the ongoing dialogue. The real talks are announced in mid-February.