Dar es Salaam-East African Heads of State have, under their umbrella body the East African Community (EAC), called for the postponement of the elections in Burundi for a period of not less than one and half months and also appealed to institutions in Burundi including Parliament to facilitate this postponement.
In a joint communiqué issued at the end of an emergency summit on the situation in Burundi held at State House in Dar es Salaam, the leaders who included, Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, Burundi’s Minister for External and International Cooperation Alain Nyamitwe, who represented President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and Rwanda’s Minister for East African Community, Valentine Rugwabiza, who represented President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, agreed that during the postponement, members led by the EAC chairperson will consult with stakeholders in Burundi on the way forward.
The summit was also attended by South African President Jacob Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Dlamini Zuma and the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region Saidi Djinnit among other officials.
On May 13, rebelling soldiers led by former intelligence chief Gen Godefroid Niyombare temporarily ousted the government of president Pierre Nkurunziza, while the latter was attending a similar conference on Burundi in Dar es Salaam, sparking off violent reaction by the masses.
However, the coup was reversed by loyalist troops, paving the way for Nkurunziza to return to the country on Thursday, May 14.
During the deliberations, officials called on all parties to stop the violence and exercise restraint during this period and for the urgent disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties.
Meanwhile, the leaders have encouraged the government of Burundi to create a conducive environment for the return of refugees to Burundi and directed the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EAC partner states and the Republic of South Africa to urgently communicate these and other decisions to the government in Burundi.
The leaders at the summit also expressed sympathy for the people of Burundi following the violence that resulted in the death of many people, influx of refugees to neighbouring countries, the destruction of property and paralyzing of business in some parts of the country.
After the summit, the leaders were hosted to a luncheon by President Jakaya Kikwete.
Museveni for Madaraka Day in Nairobi
Later, President Yoweri Museveni held a bilateral meeting with the host and EAC chairman, President Kikwete.
Meanwhile, Mr Museveni this morning left for the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, to be part of celebrations to mark Madaraka Day at the invitation of President Uhuru Kenyatta. On departure President Museveni was seen off at the Julius Nyerere International Airport by Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bernard Membe.