Burundi opposition politician Charles Nditije has accused the Mediator and Facilitator of the Burundi process, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa respectively, of failing his country’s democratic process.
According to Mr Nditije, Museveni and Mkapa are responsible for President Pierre Nkurunziza’s recalcitrance by neglecting the latter’s imminent revocation of the Arusha Accords and change of the Constitution.
“They have done nothing to promote inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue under the auspices of the international community,” Mr Nditije of UPRONA, said.
However, contacted President Museveni’s Senior Press Secretary Innocent Don Wanyama, said Mr Nditije’s remarks were ‘unfair’.
“That is an unfair accusation; the President has been getting reports from President Mkapa (Facilitator), the latest being just last week,” Mr Wanyama said.
He added: “However, the Burundians should know that the solution for peace will come from them and not President Museveni. What he (Museveni) is doing is to quicken the process for the long-lasting solution and he should not be blamed for their failures.”
It is pertinent to note that Mr Nditije’s remarks come in the wake of an August 24 report by the National Commission of Inter-Burundian Dialogue [CNDI], which proposed the amendment of the Constitution and the cancellation of Arusha agreement.
According to the CNDI report, Burundian people wanted that President Pierre Nkurunziza to rule until he dies.
Local media reports in Burundi intimate that Pierre Nkurunziza is currently in his ‘third term’, which is illegal according to both the current Constitution and the Ausha Agreement, which stipulates that no President can rule for more than two terms.
Many Burundians believe that Nkurunziza wants to amend the Constitution in order to stay in power for life. The Council of Ministers met on November 16 to analyze how to set up a commission that could change the Constitution.
Philipe Nzobonariba, the Secretary General, said that the Minister of Home Affairs proposed the amendment of the Constitution. He said that the commission would refer to the outcome of the ongoing inter-Burundian dialogue.
Meanwhile, Leonce Ngendakumana, the Deputy Chairman of the opposition Frodebu party says that the Government’s intention to amend the Constitution shows that the current regime has decided to drive Burundi deeper into isolation.
“Even some neighboring countries that supported the Government of Burundi thinking that it would change, in the face of this radicalization, will abandon it,” Ngendakumana says.
He regrets that the ongoing peace process through inclusive dialogue is indefinitely suspended. Consequently, it will plunge Burundi into another civil war, he believes.
“Revision of the Constitution should take place in a less tense political atmosphere. The Constitution is a very important legal tool for the future of a nation,” he says.
In 2014, President Pierre Nkurunziza attempted to revise the Constitution to run for third term but the bill was rejected by the National Assembly.
The Constitution in force in Burundi was promulgated on 18 March, 2005. It resulted from the Arusha Peace Agreement signed in 2000 after a civil war that lasted a decade.