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President Nkurunziza Boycotts EAC Heads Of State Summit

by Patrick Bigabo
5:56 pm

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza decided not to take any risks again.

He sent his Foreign Affairs Minister, Alian Nyamitwe, to represent him at an emergency EAC summit on Burundi in neighbouring Tanzania.

This is the second meeting EAC heads of state are holding to seek solutions to the unrelenting political crisis in Burundi.

President Kagame did not attend too, was also represented by Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo.

When the first crisis meeting was held on May 13, in Tanzania, President Nkurunziza attended, however, shortly after his arrival at the meeting, a senior General, Godfroid Niyombare, announced that he had assumed power in a coup and dismissed Nkurunziza.

Two days later, the army loyalists managed to thwart the coup and Nkurunziza was able to sneak back into his country.

There were fears that a similar scenario could be replayed again if Nkurunziza left the country.

Meanwhile, the current Political crisis in Burundi has already prompted 90,000 Burundians to flee the country into neighbouring Rwanda and Tanzania, as vice president of the election commission; Spes Caritas Ndironkeye resigns and flees.

Burundi’s most prominent opposition Agathon Rwasa, has pulled out of his presidential ambitions because he no longer feels safe on the campaign trail.

At the same time, Burundi’s major international donors including the European Union and the influential Catholic Church have withdrawn their support for the June 5 polls.

President Nkurunziza has been pleading with citizens to finance the elections.

“The withdraw of EU and the Church withdrawal of its priests does not mean the elections should not take place,” said Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana. “Burundian people are thirsty for these elections and we need to do everything so they take place in good conditions.”

The crisis in Burundi erupted after President Nkurunziza announced he would seek another term in office.

However, opposition and rights groups say the move violates the constitution as well as the terms of the Arusha peace deal that ended the 13-year civil war in 2006.

Bujumbura, Burundi’s capital has been hit by weeks of civil unrest, which has left at least 30 dead in a major crackdown.

Until press time, details of the discussions in Tanzania had not yet been made public.

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