Burundi sets up internal dialogue commission

President Pierre Nkurunziza officiating at the swearing in ceremony of Inter-Dialogue Commission members

President Pierre Nkurunziza officiating at the swearing in ceremony of Inter-Dialogue Commission members

The 15 members of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue Commission (CNDI) have been sworn-in in the country’s second largest city of Gitega where they pledged, before President Pierre Nkurunziza, to accomplish their duties freely, with loyalty and without favoritism.

The commission was appointed on October 17 and is composed of 10 men and five women, led by Bishop Justin Nzoyisaba.

It has a renewable 6 month-term and its goal is to find a durable solution to the current political crisis that began in April when President Nkurunziza was nominated by the ruling CNDD-FDD for the controversial third term.

Presiding over the inauguration of the commission, President Nkurunziza reminded all Burundians that dialogue has always been at the centre of conflict resolution in the Central/East African nation.

“In our country, dialogue and consultation have always existed. Whenever a point of disagreement was conspicuous, people sat around a table and exchanged ideas. They could only set off after a mutual agreement was reached. This is what we want to revive so that people can share their vision,” he said, encouraging them to keep in mind that every time that Burundians sat together, they found lasting solutions to the problems they faced.

Regretting that some Burundians behave irresponsibly to the point that some become like mercenaries in their own country, President Nkurunziza invited citizens wherever they might be to give their contribution to rebuild the country.

He however warned wanted figures living abroad; nationals especially those who participated in the May 13 foiled coup that they must answer charges against them in the courts of law.

The Burundi Attorney General, Valentin Bagorikunda, recently released a list of twelve high profile figures, many of whom being organizers and supporters of the anti-3rd term protests, and the attempted coup leaders who must face justice despite of possible talks to end the turmoil.

“However, some other Burundians are abroad running from the Justice system because of the crimes they committed and others have been named in various UN reports as troublemakers in our region,” Bagorikunda said adding “once again dialogue, however inclusive it might be, will in no way impede the course of justice or allow impunity in our country.”

The Burundian government has over the last few weeks signaled it was not ready to sit down with political players in the Diaspora particularly members of the recently formed National Council for the Respect of the Arusha Agreement, the Constitution and the Rule of Law (CNARED), who have threatened to pick up arms and fight in case the government fails to sit with them in a meaningful dialogue.

Although the international community still advocates for the resumption of the Ugandan-facilitated talks, the African Union Peace and Security Council has recently urged the Chairperson of the AU Commission to consult with relevant international actors, including the United Nations in an effort to mobilize the necessary political, financial and technical support for the inter‐Burundian dialogue.