Kikwete meets Nkurunziza envoys


Kikwete meets Burundi delegation (Photo by Issa Michuzi)


Tanzania president, Jakaya Kikwete, on Thursday met a delegation from Burundi which is currently suffering a political crisis.

The delegation was led by the speaker and deputy speaker of parliament of Burundi.

The meeting that took place at the presidential palace in the capital Dar es Salaam, saw Kikwete hold talks with Burundi speaker of the National Assembly, Mhe.Paschal Nyabenda and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Burundi, Mhe. Agathon Rwasa.

Details of the talks are still scanty.

In July 2015, opposition leaders called for a truce following a “disappointing” crisis summit in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.

On 28 May, leaders of the opposition announced a boycott of the controversial legislative and municipal elections on 5 June and presidential elections on 26 June.

The boycott came after months of street violence, which have left more than 30 people dead and over 500 injured since 26 April, when Burundi’s ruling party National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for re-election.


L-R Nyabenda, Kikwete and Rwasa (Photo by Issa Michuzi)

Kikwete personally went to Bujumbura and entreated Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term bid saying it violated the country’s constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended an ethnic civil war in 2005.

Kikwete who is the chair of EAC bloc recommended Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni to head reconciliation talks in Burundi which unfortunately collapsed and Nkurunziza forcefully had himself re-elected.

Tanzania has historically been the regional leader in Burundian mediations. It has a direct interest in the current crisis because most of the refugees who have fled Burundi since the crisis began – nearly 77 000 – have gone to Tanzania.

Kikwete who is standing down from office later this year after serving his constitutionally-limited two terms in office, according to observers, has the credibility to stabilize Burundi.

Pretoria News quotes Devon Curtis, of Cambridge University, speaking at a Rift Valley Institute (RVI) event in Nairobi suggesting that Kikwete backed off after suspecting that Rwanda, no great friend of Tanzania’s, had supported the coup attempt on May 13.

Although many suspect Tanzania had given up on Burundi, it seems Kikwete is determined to end the impasse.

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