Nkurunziza skips Burundi summit, EAC leaders call for postponement of elections

MIA: President Pierre Nkurunziza did not attend the meeting in Dar es Salaam, the meeting whose main agenda was to address the political crisis in his country

MIA: President Pierre Nkurunziza did not attend the meeting in Dar es Salaam, the meeting whose main agenda was to address the political crisis in his country

East African Community (EAC) Heads of State today convened in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in an emergency summit on the situation in Burundi, but there was one noticeable absentee; President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.

President Nkurunziza’s attendance was doubtful even in the lead up to the high stakes meeting given the fact that when he risked to attend a similar meeting three weeks ago, he almost lost his presidency as renegade generals in the Burundi military attempted to depose him in a thwarted coup.

Nkurunziza was represented by his Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe Rwanda’s Paul Kagame also did not attend the meeting, he delegated the Minister for EAC.

The leaders of Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa attended the meeting and among the main resolutions they called on the government of Burundi to postpone the forthcoming elections for a month a half, hoping the conflict and the protests will have simmered down.

“The summit called for a longer postponement of elections in Burundi for a period not less than one and a half months,” the Secretary General of EAC Ambassador Richard Sezibera told the press in Dar es Salaam, Sunday.

The leaders also resolved the youth militants aligned with Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD should be disarmed, throughout the ongoing protests, Imbonerakure have been notorious for ruthlessly attacking and harassing demonstrators and whoever is opposed to Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

CNDD-FDD’s decision to nominate Nkurunziza as their flag bearer in the next presidential election ignited popular protests that have paralyzed the capital Bujumbura and the rest of the country.

Opposition leaders and the protestors in the streets say the president’s third term runs counter to the country’s constitution that stipulates a head of state is eligible to two 5-year terms, elected by the masses, Nkurunziza and his supporters contend that since he was elected by parliament for his first term in 2005, the constitution allows him one more term.

The Burundi Constitutional Court has validated President Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

Via his Twitter handle, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya said “We expressed our solidarity with the people of Burundi and respect their right to participate in a democratic process”

The host of the summit and chairman of EAC, Tanzanian President Jakaya told reporters at the end of the summit the leaders have been trying to help the people of Burundi by finding a viable solution to the current crisis.