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Burundi Situation ‘Not Suitable' For Credible Elections –Official :: Uganda Radionetwork

Burundi Situation ‘Not Suitable' For Credible Elections –Official

Micheal Kafando, a senior United Nations official noted that while the security situation is calm, the potential for volatility is rife, as political tension persists in Burundi.
Michel Kafando, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Burundi, briefs the Security Council meeting
Urgent efforts are needed to keep the hard-won gains in Burundi from eroding; Micheal Kafando, a senior United Nations official told the Security Council last night, noting that while the security situation is calm, the potential for volatility is rife, as political tension persists.

Kafando, the Special Envoy for Burundi, observed that the overall political situation, along with the government's decision to revise the Constitution, has hampered economic development.

He added that although Burundi has made some progress, human rights violations are still being reported and the humanitarian situation remains a worry. “The environment is “not suitable” for the conduct of credible elections, planned for 2020,” he added.

Presenting the latest report on the situation in the country, Kafando highlighted the efforts made at the inter-Burundian dialogue and said the region had decided to continue those talks, with strong commitments from the African Union and other regional partners.

The Inter-Burundian Dialogue is an EAC-led process under the Mediatorship of President Yoweri Museveni. He is supported by former President Benjamin Mkapa of the United Republic of Tanzania as the Facilitator of the Dialogue.

The talks started after the 2015 political crisis triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza candidacy for the presidential elections. Although Nkurunziza won the disputed elections, most of the citizenry did not accept the results, leading to the political mayhem that left hundreds dead, while others took refuge in neighbouring countries.

It was hoped that the Inter-Burundi dialogue would restore sanity in the country where close to 2,000 people have been killed, and another 400,000 forced to flee to the neighbouring countries.

But the fourth round of dialogue talks ended in December with no end in sight to an agreement on the way forward. After the session held in Arusha, Tanzania, the facilitator Benjamin Mkapa announced that there would be no binding document out of the session because of the parties' inability to move beyond their ‘positional silos.'

Kafando says that dialogue remains indispensable, as the process sought to bring Burundians closer together with a view to building a strong nation.

Also at the Security Council meeting, Jürg Lauber (Switzerland), the Chair of the Burundi Configuration of the Peace building Commission, said that the Configuration would align its work with sub-regional, regional and international efforts, focusing on the East African Community's mediation initiative, a path to peaceful elections, socioeconomic dialogue with the Government and partners, as well as humanitarian and national reconciliation initiatives.

Noting that he would visit Burundi in the coming weeks, Lauber pledged to focus on five key issues:  mediation efforts of the East African Community; the path leading to the conduct of free, fair and democratic elections in 2020; socioeconomic dialogue with the Government and its international partners; the humanitarian situation; and efforts towards national reconciliation.

He also informed the 15-member Security Council that the Peace building Fund had approved three new projects for Burundi worth USD 6.5 million and outlined several conclusions based on the Configuration's recent work, which underscored the importance of the regionally-led dialogue, the 2020 elections, humanitarian efforts, improving socioeconomic development and the deployment of observers to provide a more accurate picture of human rights and civil society developments in Burundi.

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