Burundi crisis taxing brains

THE Facilitator of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue, ex-Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa, set in motion the 4th Inter-Burundi Dialogue Session in Arusha yesterday, in which a total of 32 political parties that are active in Burundi are participating.

The initiative will stretch for two weeks up to 8th of December. The important sessions will be allinclusive, drawing participants from the government of Burundi, former presidents and vice presidents and all the 32 political parties registered in the country.

The talks, aimed at restoring peace in the conflict-prone East African country, are also involving key political actors resident in Burundi and those outside, civil society organisations, women, the youth, religious leaders from the Catholic Church, Protestant churches and the Moslem community as well as the Bujumburabased media.

According to an official statement from the office of the Facilitator released here on Monday, the session would enable the participants seriously negotiate and reach tangible results.

“The Facilitator, Mr Mkapa, and the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania have assured all participants that adequate security arrangements are in place to guarantee their safety and a pleasant stay in the country,” reads part of the statement.

This key dialogue session is meant to provide an opportunity to all Barundians, at home and abroad, to engage with each other in frank and meaningful deliberations on the political, social and eco-nomic problems facing their country.

The negotiations aim at solving conflicts that arose following the controversial 2015 Presidential elections in Burundi in which the incumbent, Mr Pierre Nkurunzinza emerged the victor.

A statement from the East African Community (EAC) secretariat here is to the effect that, participants in the Dialogue will reach a consensus on the way forward.

Former President Mkapa, in his capacity as the facilitator for the talks, has assured all Burundians and other participants that he would provide an enabling environment and guidance as necessary.

The Inter-Burundi Dialogue is an EAC-led process under the Mediatorship of President Yoweri Museveni, a member of the EAC Heads of State Summit.

The Summit appointed former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to play the role of the Facilitator of the Dialogue to support the Mediator.

According to the Community treaty requirement, the East African Community Secretariat implements Council and Summit directives, which means the EAC Secretary General, who is also the Secretary to the Summit of the EAC Heads of State, is obliged to provide technical and logistical support to the activities of the Facilitator.

However, the Facilitator is fully responsible for the conduct of the Dialogue.

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