EAC ministers: Nkurunziza 3rd term unconstitutional



Chairman of the East African Council of Ministers Harrison Mwakyembe (left) confers with council member Shem Bageine of Uganda (second left), Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for East Africa Cooperation Abdallah Sadalla (second right) and East African Community Secretary-General Richard Sezibera during a meeting on the Burundi crisis


East African ministers of Justice and Attorney Generals have concluded that President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term pursuit is unconstitutional.

In a leaked report of their meeting held on May 15, 2015, the justices and attorney generals of the regional bloc advised that Nkurunziza should not seek a third term.

“The Attorney Generals/Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, therefore, advise that in terms of the constitution of the Republic of Burundi and the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, the President of the Republic of Burundi, H.E Pierre Nkurunziza, is not eligible to seek re-election for another term.”

The meeting that reached this decision was held in Arusha, Tanzania.



Nkurunziza should be disqualified

This comes at a time foreign forces are calling for the disqualification of Nkurunziza as a presidential candidate.

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) citing the threat of civil war in Burundi called for urgent and firm action in the European Union and the international community on Nkurunziza.

Louis H. O. Ch. Michel, the former Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of European Parliament says they can no longer continue to close their eyes to unrest, chaos and massacres.

“We must firmly mean to President Nkurunziza that the government would be the result of elections held illegally and contrary to the Arusha Accords, will not be recognized by our institutions.”

EU Parliament’s position on Burundi

David Martin, a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament says the instability in Burundi is not the fault of its neighbours, and its neighbours should not pay the price of that instability.

He said the immediate cause of the unrest in Burundi is the decision of President Nkurunziza to try to seek a third term, and that is clearly – no matter what he has forced his own constitutional court to say – in breach of the Arusha Agreement.

“And the consequence of his attempt to achieve a third term has been violence on the streets – not by the demonstrators, but by government-backed militias, the Imbonerakure – who have tried to put down these peaceful demonstrations and forced demonstrators off the streets.”

“The second thing, if we are going to have real elections in Burundi, is there has to be space for the opposition to campaign, and in the short 5-day period I spent there, it was clear to me that government-backed parties were able to hold rallies and encourage supporters, while any attempt by the opposition to get public space was ruthlessly put down,” Martin continues.

“A third thing that needs to happen – and the Commissioner mentioned this – is we need to make sure that the media is reopened. I have to say, I saw a level of cynicism I have rarely seen anywhere when, on the one hand, firstly they banned the radio stations and refused them permission to broadcast, then in the attempted coup, the radio stations were blown up and it was impossible for them to broadcast, and then the government said ‘now you are free to broadcast’ – having destroyed the facilities needed to actually carry out any broadcasting.”

He concluded that the conditions for credible elections do not look good; they need to be restored.

“I understand today Burundi has announced that the elections will now take place on 29 June and 15 July. If they do restore conditions for credible elections I would recommend we go back to Burundi, but at the present time it is not possible for the European Union to observe these elections.”

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