It has always been their position: East Africa Community leaders meeting for the 3rd Emergency Summit on Burundi have directed the leadership of the tiny central Africa state to postpone its presidential elections from July 15 to July 30.
According to communiqué issued after the meeting on Monday, the leaders have appointed Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni to lead a two-week dialogue between the belligerent parties, with a view to sorting out all the thorny issues before the
Meanwhile, the government and opposition have been told to disarm and disband all armed groups allied to political parties, including the deadly Imbonakure, a militia group allied to the ruling FDD-CNDD party. The AU will deploy forces to oversee the disarmament, while the new election date.
According to the communiqué, the winner of the presidential elections should establish a Government of National Unity, respect the Arusha Accords and the Constitution.
Furtther, the communiqué states that the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (EJVM) and Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre (JIFC) of International Conference Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) will urgently deploy to Burundi to verify allegations of the presence of Rwanda rebel group, the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, the FDLR.
Other recommendations of the EAC leaders’ summit include the regional body sending elections observers to Burundi.
In the past few months Burundi has been embroiled in persistent turmoil following the President’s announcement that he would seek re-election in the polls that were earlier slated for June 15, but have since been rescheduled for July 15.
However, Nkurunziza’s announcement was met with stiff resistance, with several people flooding the streets of Bujumbura to protest. The protests culminated in a temporary coup led by a former intelligence chief, Maj Gen Godefroid Niyombare, staged on May 13.
At the time president Nkurunziza was in Dar es Salaam attending the East African Community Heads of State Summit on the crisis in his country. However, forces loyal to Nkurunziza were to recapture his seat the next day Thursday 14 and landing in his home area of Ngozi, in the north of the country, after which he made a triumphant return to Bujumbura on Friday, May 15.