Burundi government and opposition are in talks to end crisis

July 27, 2015 Burundi is still in the news as organizations within and outside Africa work to restore peace and order.

Uganda’s defense minister Crispus Kiyonga continued mediating talks between the Burundi government and opposition to end the political crisis in the nation, with the main thrust of the talks being to find a compromise between President Nkurunziza and his opponents.

Separate meetings with representatives from both sides held, each with their own proposals and objectives.

Although Chair of the National Independent Electoral Commission Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, announced a postponement of the presidential poll to July 30 to aid the talks, the country went ahead and held a controversial presidential election on Tuesday July 21 which the opposition boycotted.

UN chief Ban Ki Moon, had called on authorities to do everything possible to maintain peace. He also called for the resumption of a frank dialogue and urged parties to avoid undermining the progress achieved in “building democracy” since the signing of the Arusha Agreements.

Following on from those, Burundi’s opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, has called on President Pierre Nkurunziza to hold talks to form a national unity government in order to avert renewed conflict.

Rwasa said “For the sake of Burundi, the idea of a government of national unity can be accepted.”

He went on to add “War can only destroy, while dialogue can help us overcome all these troubles of ours. So I would encourage them to challenge Nkurunziza through dialogue but of course Nkurunziza must also be aware that we are all Burundians and he must not be seclusive but be open-minded and accept to be challenged by his fellow Burundians and accept that dialogue for the sake of this nation.”

Rwasa was referring to warnings from the executors of the recent foiled coup effort that they would continue their efforts to overthrow the current leadership.

The opposition leader has a list of demands for President Nkurunziza, insisting on early elections, which would mean that any new term for Nkurunziza would be limited to six months or a year. He has also said that those given posts in a unity cabinet must have real influence on policy, to tackle issues such as corruption and fixing strained foreign relations.

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