The United States has asked Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, to abandon his pursuit of the third term in office which has sparked protests that are still ongoing.
John Kirby, Department Spokesperson Washington, DC said in a statement that the U.S. Government reiterated its position asking the Government of Burundi to adhere to the tenets of the Arusha Agreement, to include the provisions on term limits.
“The Arusha Agreement, which was carefully negotiated and accepted by most parties and sectors of Burundian society, brought an end to years of tragic civil war and established the foundation for Burundi’s post-conflict recovery,” the statement reads.
President Nkurunziza’s decision to disregard the term limit provision of the Arusha Agreement has destabilized Burundi and the sub-region, triggered violence, and endangered Burundi’s economic well-being.
The government’s troubling actions to severely restrict political space and press freedoms, violently disrupt political protests, pressure the Constitutional Court and Electoral Commission, and reported use of an armed ruling-party youth militia to intimidate protestors and political opponents contradicts the basic principles of democratic governance and starkly contradicts President Nkurunziza’s claim that he is dedicated to respecting the Arusha Agreement and the rule of law.
“The United States echoes the East African Community’s calls for a postponement of the elections in Burundi, urges all parties in Burundi to cease violence and exercise restraint, and calls for the urgent disarmament of all armed youth groups allied to political parties.”
US also encouraged the region to play a leadership role in resolving the crisis, and encourages high-level visits from Burundi’s neighbours to Burundi to reiterate the importance of upholding the Arusha Agreement and ensuring the conditions necessary for free, fair, and credible elections.
AFP quotes Burundi presidency saying the elections have been postponed to an unknown date.
Burundi’s parliamentary polls scheduled for Friday will be postponed until a new date is set by the electoral commission, an aide to the president told AFP on Wednesday.
“It is sure. There will be no elections on Friday,” Willy Nyamitwe.
Regional bodies have also been pushing for the delay of elections saying the situation was still volatile.
EAC leaders met a second time in Tanzania in a move to end the crisis but are yet to achieve that dream.