Burundi opposition rejects Museveni as mediator of crisis


Nkurunziza and Museveni

Burundian opposition parties have rejected the appointment of President Yoweri Museveni by regional leaders to mediate the ongoing crisis.

East African Community leaders appointed Museveni on Monday to lead the mediation of the political situation in Burundi that arose from President Pierre Nkurunziza’s pursuit of a third term in office.

This comes after Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party demanded a UN mediator helping to end the political crisis step down for not showing “neutrality in his work”.

However, Burundi opposition parties have roundly and jointly denounced Museveni’s involvement in the whole process.

Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, deputy leader of the Front for Democracy in Burundi, told Bloomberg News in an interview that Museveni who has personally overstayed in power can’t help the Burundi situation which demands that Nkurunziza leaves power.

“Museveni has been in power since 1986; can he help the Burundian president to understand that a mandate limit is important? No,” Bamvuginyumvira is quoted as saying.

He added: “I expect nothing from his (Museveni’s) work.’’

While EAC said on Monday it had asked Burundi to disarm militias allied to political parties through a demobilization exercise overseen by the African Union, Bamvuginyumvira believes disarmament would take longer than two weeks.

“It took years and years to arm them. Do you think they can hand over their weapons easily?” he wondered.

Meanwhile, EAC also asked that presidential elections be held on July 30 and that the winning party share power with losers in a government of national unity.

Burundi held parliamentary elections on June 29 without creating conditions for a “free, fair” vote, the United Nations Security Council said last week.

Opposition is still unsure of the fairness of the coming presidential elections especially with the ongoing crackdown on their members and the mistreatment of protesters.

At least 77 people dead since April when the ruling party named Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate prompting the US to halt military aid to Burundi.

Opponents say the bid to extend his tenure violates a two-term limit set out in peace agreements that in 2005 brought an end to a 12-year civil war.

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