Burundi peace talks mediator President Yoweri Museveni talks to the facilitator Benjamin Mkapa, the former President of Tanzania

For the second time in few weeks, opposition groups in Burundi have indicated they lost trust in the Inter-Burundi Dialogue Mediator, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the Facilitator, former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa.

The development follows Mr Mkapa’s weekend endorsement of Pierre Nkurunziza as the ‘legitimate’ President of Burundi. According to Mr Mkapa, president Nkrunziza is in office legally following the 2015 controversial elections and “there is no reason for the legitimacy of Nkurunziza to be questioned.”

“Legitimacy is lent by Burundians and those who think I am the one that is lending legitimacy, are absolutely out of mind,” he said. The 78-year-old added: “Ambassadors come in Burundi and present their credentials to President Nkurunziza. Isn’t it a way of recognising him as a President of this country? So what is this foolishness?”

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But opposition leaders and some civil society activists in Burundi have repeatedly questioned Nkurunziza’s controversial third term following what they called the violation of the Burundi constitution and the Arusha peace Agreement.

And in a statement by the National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Accords and the Rule of Law, CNARED, the main opposition coalition made of people in exile, said it didn’t ‘believe in the mediation any longer’, and rejecting both Mkapa and mediator Museveni.

But responding to the acuusations levelled against Mr Museveni, his Senior Principal Press Secretary Innocent Don Wanyama said last week that the President was performing his roles in accordance with the EAC timelines. And, just like Mr Mkapa, Mr Wanyama said President Museveni believes peace in Burundi can only be guaranteed by the Burundians themselves.

Meanwhile, Mr Mkapa has said that his roadmap includes starting peace talks in January and concluding them by June.


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