Mkapa meets Nkurunziza over Burundi crisis

Former Tanzanian leader, Benjamin Mkapa speaking to the press in the Burundian capital Bujumbura

Former Tanzanian leader, Benjamin Mkapa speaking to the press in the Burundian capital Bujumbura

Former Tanzanian leader Benjamin Mkapa has held talks with embattled Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza over the current political crisis in the small East African state.

Mkapa who is co-mediating in the Burundi crisis alongside Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni met President Pierre Nkurunziza on Friday, as he sought to analyze the situation in the country before the resumption of the inter-Burundian dialogue.

“I have come here in order to be updated on events over the last ten years and to be informed of their understanding, of what the function of this dialogue will be and what the participation of my team will constitute,” he told the press after the meeting with President Nkurunziza.

Benjamin Mkapa lauded the peace and stability that characterized the last ten years as a dividend of the 2000 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which permitted the electoral process in 2005 that brought the former rebel movement, the CNDD-FDD into power.

“I hope there will be an end to any form of violence that has manifested itself from time to time, particularly over the last couple of months;” he said.

On the tension between Burundi and Rwanda, after the latter was accused of instigating insecurity in the former, President Mkapa said that there should be an end to any unnecessary speculation that would cause violence, confrontation or even war between members of the East African Community, adding that “we really are the community and we are neighbors who are to live in peace, cooperate and develop together”.

The former Tanzanian leader did not announce the date of a possible resumption of the dialogue but commended the internal process currently underway to restore sanity and pledged to see how to merge or fit into that process in a bid to strengthen the task of reconciliation among Burundians.

President Pierre Nkurunziza briefed Benjamin Mkapa on the latest standoff between Rwanda and Burundi, and said is confident the former Tanzanian leader will use his experience on Burundian issues to reconcile the conflicting parties.

“We explained to him the interference of Rwanda in the internal politics of Burundi and we hope once the process begins outside the country this issue will be taken into account so as to stabilize our country,” said Nkurunziza.

President Mkapa had earlier on met with leaders of the East African Community, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, about the crisis in Burundi.