The Secretary General of the East African Community, Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera, has commended the Government of Burundi on the preparations undertaken so far towards the General Elections to be held in May, June and July 2015.
“The Community wishes the People of Burundi free, fair and peaceful elections and calls upon all friends of Burundi to offer their support to the success of the electoral process.”
Sezibera noted that Burundi has made substantial progress in establishing and maintaining peace and stability in the last decade and the forthcoming elections provide an opportunity to consolidate and enhance the country’s social and economic development.
He further recalled that on March 09, 2015 all political actors signed a code of good conduct in which they committed to refrain from pursuing violence in the electoral process.
“The EAC notes that the attainment of peace and stability in Burundi amounts to peace and stability in the entire region and urges all regional and international stakeholders to actively engage in the attainment of these objectives.”
Sezibera also noted with concern that some Barundi are seeking refuge in neighboring countries due to fear of election related violence.
He commended Partner States that receive them and urges the International Community to offer support.
He further urged the Government of Burundi and all actors to ensure that the electoral process does not lead to humanitarian crisis.
“The Secretary General calls upon the government of Burundi to continue with the dialogue process that brings together all key actors and stakeholders in Burundi with a view to deliberate on all key issues of potential impact to the realization of a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”
“The Community reiterates its continued commitment in supporting the people of Burundi in the attainment of free and fair elections and promoting dialogue among all parties involved when called upon.”
Shocking as it may sound, Sezibera practically avoided commenting on the ongoing unrest in Burundi following this week’s mass protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza who is seeking a third term in office.
Citizens accused Nkurunziza of violating the constitution that resulted from the Arusha Accord mandating him to serve only two terms.
Protests have left atleast six people dead and about 70 injured.
All East African leaders, Sezibera inclusive, have kept a deathly silence on the matter.