EAC wants Burundi General Election postponed

Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) and other delegates have called upon the government of Burundi to postpone the planned General Election for one and a half months pending further consultations with other  stakeholders.

A protester runs in front of a burning barricade during a protest against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
A protester runs in front of a burning barricade during a protest against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic
The resolution was reached yesterday in Dar es Salaam at an emergency EAC Heads of State meeting on the situation in Burundi.
EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera said the Summit has also called on political parties in Burundi to stop all violent actions and to disarm all political party allied youth groups in the country.
Thirdly, the Heads of State encouraged the government of Burundi to restore peace as a prerequisite for the return of the hundreds of thousands of refugees.
The Summit called upon EAC foreign ministers to urgently convey the decision by the Heads of State and to engage all stakeholders in Burundi.
The summit expressed satisfaction with the foiling of the attempted coup d’état on May 13, forcing postponement of the Heads of State that were meeting in Dar es Salaam on the same day with Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza in attendance.
At the meeting, President Jakaya Kikwete hosted, Uganda’s, Yoweri Museveni, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, South Africa’s   Jacob Zuma, African Union Chairperson Nkosozana   Dlamini- Zuma while Rwanda was represented by its foreign affairs minister Valentine Rugwaiza and Burundi was represented by its foreign affairs minister Allen Nyamizwe.
 In the wake of that development, President Kikwete advanced; “when the country is ready for elections, then it has to be done in respect to the Arusha Agreement of 2005.”
 Meanwhile, in a press statement issued yesterday,  the Eastern African sub-Regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women (EASSI) asked statesmen to prioritise the rights of special need groups such as women, children and elderly.
The statement condemned the continued violence and violation of human rights in Burundi citing that the special need groups suffer the most in such conflicts.
It decried the haphazard use of small arms, light weapons and grenades on unarmed civilians including women and children.
“The current state of unrest and insecurity has potential to push citizens into extreme poverty, desolation and misery.
“We demand that statesmen in the region ensure that the Burundi President respects the Arusha accord and his country’s constitution which advocates for two terms in office,” it said.
It further demanded the restoration of peace, security and order in the region to adhere to fundamental rights and freedom of the people as enshrined in the respective countries’ constitutions.
Further, the group wants Burundi to accord special protection to vulnerable groups like women, children, persons with disabilities and the elderly affected by the unrest in line with international standards.
“In recognition of the absolute right to be heard and due process, all the people arrested and detained as a result of the ongoing unrest in Burundi should be released and their safety guaranteed,” the statement demanded.

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