Burundi opposition seeks Zuma help

2011-08-11 08:55

Bujumbura - A Burundi opposition coalition urged South African President Jacob Zuma, who arrived in this central African country on Wednesday, to kick-start negotiations between it and the government.

Key Burundi opposition figures went undercover or fled the country after President Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected last year in polls they said were rigged by the government.

Nkurunziza last month called on the exiled leaders to return home for dialogue, a move welcomed by the opposition, but no talks have started.

"We call on President Jacob Zuma to kick-start negotiations between the government and the opposition ADC [Democratic Alliance for Change] coalition during his visit to Burundi," the group's leader Leonce Ngendakumana told reporters.

"These talks should be his priority because times are bad and the situation is getting out of hand. We are threatened by the resumption of a civil war, the poverty gripping the people and massive human rights violations," he added.

But Zuma dismissed the calls, saying he was not visiting to discuss internal politics.

"I came in a state visit to strengthen relations between our two countries, I have not come to discuss internal political problems," Zuma told reporters after arriving at Bujumbura airport late on Wednesday.

Bilateral ties

Then South Africa's vice president, Zuma took over from Nelson Mandela as mediator in the Burundi conflict after the 2000 Arusha peace accord.

He is credited with negotiating a ceasefire deal by six of Burundi's seven rebel groups, including the CNDD-FDD which is currently in power.

Burundi's Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana said Zuma's visit was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and not to start talks with the opposition.

Recent violence in Burundi has raised fears of a resumption of all-out conflict in the country emerging from a civil war which left nearly 300 000 dead between 1993 and 2006.

However, Nkurunziza offered an upbeat welcome to Zuma.

"Today we have peace, security and democracy in Burundi - it's time to build our country - and we are pleased to see the former mediator come and see for himself how Burundians enjoy peace," Nkurunziza said.

  • HolySnake - 2011-08-11 09:06

    SA has strong economy which is in the hands of whites...we really have to take back our economy in order to assist neighbouring countries. By doing that we can all live in peace and stability

      Felix - 2011-08-11 09:09

      Does it hurt when you try and think?

      Atilla - 2011-08-11 09:15

      Pity you had to ruin your "peace and stability" statement with the "take back" hogwash ..

      Anonymus - 2011-08-11 09:23

      The second the economy falls into your grubby mitts, you can kiss the economy good bye. Blacks can never live in peace and stability.... look at the rest of africa!! where is the peace and stability???

      Pieter - 2011-08-11 13:01

      Strong Economy? Ha! Maybe when you compare it to Zim or Sudan. By international standards our Economy is an absolute joke. I actually want the entire Economy to be placed into the hands of blacks for just one year. By the end of that one year they will be begging the whites to take things over again as the entire country would be burning.

      letsee - 2011-08-11 16:12

      If Holy Snake wants progress in this country he should talk about "working" for a place in the economy but instead he says "take". People that take are thieves. Remember that whites didn't "take" an economy from anyone because Africa didn't have more that huts made of sticks and bushes. What whites have was built with whites' work and brains.

      Henk - 2011-08-13 08:01

      Zuma is playing the Harlequin by giving 3000 soccer balls to Burundi. He is kicking the ball(s) into the Communist court to take over this country by just maddening people more and more. Snake, one of these days your eyes will open that the ANC's Ubuntu is just another word for Socialism, but I guess you like it that way. Are you so brain washed that you’ll rather eat the leather of a soccer ball than to receive a decent education? Why do you think the economy is strong? Do you actually believe it will stay strong?

  • Felix - 2011-08-11 09:13

    Way to give Democracy the finger JZ. So what exactly are you doing there?

  • Anonymus - 2011-08-11 09:21

    shower head zoooma will be discussing how not to run a country correctly!

  • cliffarc - 2011-08-11 09:29

    - Assist a democratic opposition party - Who Zuma ? - Not likely, but he can kickstart their corruption programme.

      Ants - 2011-08-11 09:32

      SOOOOOO funny and true!! hahahahahahaha

  • Seanred - 2011-08-11 09:30

    He will be retired already for 5 years before he makes up his mind.

  • Pete - 2011-08-11 10:09

    Sugget that he send our battle harded ANCYL to assist the opposition in Burundi. Juju can be their general.

  • X-Ray - 2011-08-11 10:23

    Sorry to say, but Zuma is not up to something like this. Can't even govern his own country because Malema said so. Sad, very sad.

  • Musa Ngubane - 2011-08-11 13:22

    The President is being recognised for his role in bringing peace in Burundi yet these racist, right-wing, counter-revolutionary forces are insulting the President. Shame, you are a disgrace! You people need to leave our country in peace, Europe may be, will welcome you.

      Felix - 2011-08-11 13:40

      No he's there to do business, probably to store some cash before he gets ousted in Polokwane. Wake up Musa, blind loyalty isn't healthy.

      Kevin - 2011-08-11 14:07

      Wake up Musa...he's your president,not ours!!!We did not vote a criminal into power,you did.Oh yes we're just as entitled to remain in this country as you are!!! Try remove us...dumbass

  • Musa Ngubane - 2011-08-11 14:21

    Kevin: Comrade Mugabe can teach us a thing or two on how to punish the imperialists! Felix: The next ANC conference is in Mangaung, not Polokwane. Get your facts right. ANC leadership issues are left to ANC members. Are you?

      Felix - 2011-08-11 14:43

      Clearly not. Doesn't change my point though. Brother Bob will show you how he deals with his own people too...

  • trend junkies - 2011-08-11 15:48

    I find it amazing that one man can take credit for resolving conflict in Burundi! I know for a fact that the late Jan van Eck spent 12 yours of his life climbing mountains in Burundi to find the rebels and hear their side of the story and to help them move towards a peace treaty! I am appalled that he has not even been mentioned in any article! Our government wouldn't even fund his project he had to appeal to other countries for support and then our government swoops is at the last minute to take the credit! I think you need to do proper research on this story and give praise and thanks where it is actually deserved! - vdl

  • letsee - 2011-08-11 16:06

    The ABC doesn't really promote democracy. You should look for help somewhere else.

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