East African bloc demands Burundi delay polls

2015-07-06 18:01
Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Dar es Salaam - East African leaders on Monday demanded Burundi delay a controversial presidential election by two weeks until July 30, after weeks of unrest and parliamentary polls internationally condemned for not being free and fair.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, who skipped the East African Community (EAC) summit in Tanzania to campaign for a third five-year term in office, has repeatedly rejected international criticism and calls for delays. The presidential vote is due on July 15.

EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni would now lead regional efforts to strike a deal, and that a delay would allow him time "to lead the dialogue".

The crisis in the central African nation revolves around Nkurunziza's third-term bid, which his opponents have called unconstitutional and a violation of a peace deal that brought an end to a dozen years of civil war in 2006.

Leaders of the five-nation East African Community had been due to meet on Monday in Dar es Salaam, but Nkurunziza instead sent his foreign minister. Kenya and Rwanda were also represented at the ministerial level, leaving host Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Museveni the only presidents in attendance.

Nkurunziza, who stayed in Burundi to lead his presidential campaign, has previously dismissed all previous calls for poll delays.

The EAC, which said it would deploy election observers for the polls, also called on Burundi to disarm the youth wing of Nkurunziza's ruling CNDD-FDD party - the Imbonerakure - as well as "other armed groups."

It also called for unity among Burundi's rival factions, calling for a government of national unity "irrespective of whoever wins the presidential election."

Parliamentary and local elections held last week were boycotted by the opposition.

The UN electoral observer mission - the only international monitors at the June 29 elections - said the polls took place "in a climate of widespread fear and intimidation". The results have yet to be released.

Over 70 people have been killed in more than two months of protests in Burundi, with almost 144 000 refugees fleeing to neighbouring countries.

Read more on:    pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi elections 2016

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.