The East African Heads of State met for an Extraordinaire meeting held in Dar es-Salaam, Tanzania warned their counterpart embattled Burundi’s President Jean Pierre Nkurunzinza that they shall not condone any further violence. They also gave a stern warning that as Head of States they shall not condone any more violence if it continues to escalate. They said they were monitoring Burundi closely and would reconvene soon to review the situation in the country. The East African head of states said this during the recent Extraordinaire Summit held in
Dar es-Salaam and condemned the coup that had been spear headed by former sacked intelligence Chief Godefroid Niyombare, who is still at large. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta also echoed the sentiments of his East African counterparts; asking Nkurunziza for the postponement of the elections scheduled on 26th June, 2015 saying “But the elections have to be held within the constitutional mandate of the current government”.
President Kenyatta who was attending the Pan African Parliament in South Africa urged all parties in Burundi to give dialogue a chance, urging “We call for all parties to refrain from violence to allow us enhance dialogue between all parties with the hope of reaching a consensus that is acceptable” Burundi is currently going through turbulence following the President Nkurinziza’s bid to vie for a 3rd term which is against the Agreement signed in Arusha allowing him two terms.
In Arusha an emergency meeting of Ministers of East Africa Community affairs on Burundi met following the Heads of state meeting in Ethiopia. The Ministers agreed that The EAC Eminent Persons and COMESA Committee of Elders to visit Bujumbura to continue with consultations with all actors and report to the Summit. Separately the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers and the Secretary General will urgently visit Burundi to assess the situation on the ground while the Ministers responsible for EAC Affairs to visit the refugee camps hosting refugees from Burundi both in Rwanda and Tanzania to assess the humanitarian situation in the camps. So far more than 100,000 refugees have fled to Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania fearing Pro- Nkurinziza’s youth militias known as Imbonerakure, who many say they have been running a campaign of violence and intimidation in the countryside. Many fled with the few possessions they could carry. Tanzanian health authorities confirmed cases of cholera in one camp housing Burundians in its remote northwest, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika.
The United Nations refugee agency said seven people had died and 300 were suffering from acute diarrhea, suggesting the death toll from the ranks of desperate refugees might rise. Since the return of Nkurunziza in Bujumbura, after the surviving five days attempted coup by generals opposed to his 3rd term has seen the sacking of his defense and foreign ministers. The presidential mandate of Nkurunziza is expected to come to an end by August this year.
by Winnie Kamau
Freelance Data Journalist
Media Relations Consultant