Jacob Zuma: Democracy is only answer for Africa

2014-11-05 10:36

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The lesson from the political upheaval in Burkina Faso is that democracy is the only answer for the continent, President Jacob Zuma has said.

Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaoré, quit last week amid mass protests against his bid to extend his 27-year rule.

Answering a question at Tuynhuys during a joint media briefing yesterday with his Burundian counterpart, Pierre Nkurunziza, Zuma said that Africa had moved from “other types” of government to democratic government.

Under the guidance of the African Union (AU), it had also accepted that military rule had not solved the problems of the continent.

“There is a need to align the thinking of leaders with the people who elect the leaders, but also to respect the Constitution of the country,” Zuma said.

“What has happened in Burkina Faso is that there seemed to be no alignment between the thinking of people and the leader – that caused the problem,” he added.

“Africa has committed itself to constitutional democracy and that must be respected by all ... Democracy is the answer.”

In Burkina Faso, the military has taken control. Amid concerns of a military coup, the AU has given the military two weeks to hand back power to civilians.

At the briefing, Nkurunziza did not directly answer a question of whether he planned to stand for a third term when elections were held in Burundi next year.

It was Nkurunziza’s first visit to South Africa since taking office.

Nkurunziza became Burundi president during elections in 2005 after more than a decade of civil war. At the briefing, he thanked the role played by South Africa in bringing peace to his country, particularly Zuma and former President Nelson Mandela, both of whom mediated the peace process.

South Africa also deployed the first-ever AU peacekeeping force in Burundi between 2003 and 2009.

The countries signed two agreements to boost cooperation, trade and investment.

Bilateral trade between the two countries has increased from R47.7 million to just more than R52 million in 2013.

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