EAC leaders call for postponement of Burundi presidential poll, appoint Museveni new mediator

Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Yoweri Museveni of Tanzania and Uganda respectively arrive at the EAC heads of state summit on Burundi, Monday July 6

Presidents Jakaya Kikwete and Yoweri Museveni of Tanzania and Uganda respectively arrive at the EAC heads of state summit on Burundi, Monday July 6

East African Community (EAC) leaders have yet again called for postponement of Burundi Presidential election for at least fifteen days, and have appointed Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni new mediator in the on and off talks to end the conflict in the tiny central African state.

The 15-minute meeting held in Dar es Salaam Monday, and attended by Uganda’s Museveni and the hosting Tanzania President and EAC Chairman Jakaya Kikwete resolved Museveni should help facilitate the dialogue between the Burundian government and the ruling party CNDD-FDD on one hand and the opposition and civil society on the other.

Briefing the delegates, EAC Secretary General Dr. Richard Sezibera announced that the summit had ordered the government of Burundi to disarm all armed groups.

Protestors against Nkurunziza’s third term bid have claimed torture and harassment at the hands of Imbonerakure youth militia allied with the ruling party. The government has promised to disarm these young men but it is yet to act on this pledge.

“The African Union should urgently deploy military observers to observe the disarmament,” Sezibera said.

Sezibera also said EAC will be sending in observers to monitor the presidential poll

The hasty meeting also recommended the presidential election scheduled for July 15 be pushed to July 30 to allow time for facilitators to forge dialogue.

“Whoever wins the presidential election should form the government of national unit for all parties involved in the election” the leaders urged on Monday.

The summit requested the AU to urgently endorse the new resolutions.

Burundi has welcomed Museveni appointment as the new facilitator.

Alain Aime Nyamitwe, Burundi Minister for External Relations who represented President Pierre Nkurunziza said “I will take the measures to the leaders in my country and they will be the ones to make the final decision.”

Nyamitwe was optimistic the opposition will cooperate with the new mediator after the first two being rejected by conflicting parties.

“We believe Museveni will help. It’s a good decision made for Burundi by the regional leaders,” he added.

The government in Bujumbura Sunday rejected the new mediator, Abdoulaye Bathily accusing him of opposition bias, and disrespect Burundi Sovereignty and authorities.

His predecessor Said Djinnit, resigned in June after being accused by the opposition and civil society of government bias. They wrote to the UN Secretary General requesting he withdraws him.

It is not yet clear whether or not Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General will withdraw his envoy in the conflict torn country.

The government was furious the UN Electoral Mission in Burundi said in its report the June 29 communal and legislative elections were held “in a tense political crisis, and a climate of widespread fear and intimidation”