Burundi President skips EAC leaders meeting over political Crisis

A member of Burundi's National Electoral Commission counts ballot boxes at a warehouse used to store electoral material for the upcoming parliamentary elections, in the neighbourhood of Nyakabiga near the capital Bujumbura, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Nunes dos Santos
A member of Burundi’s National Electoral Commission counts ballot boxes at a warehouse used to store electoral material for the upcoming parliamentary elections, in the neighbourhood of Nyakabiga near the capital Bujumbura, June 28, 2015. REUTERS/Paulo Nunes dos Santos
Leaders of the five-nation East African Community (EAC) bloc are today expected to meet in Dar es Salaam on Monday to yet again try and resolve the political crisis in Burundi.

At least 70 people have been killed in two months of protests there, sparked by president Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to stand for a third term.

Burundi’s electoral commission is yet to release results from the recent,parliamentary elections, boycotted by the opposition and internationally condemned as not being credible.

The Ministers/Cabinet Secretaries will be considering the Report of the working visit of the Ministers of EAC Partner States plus the Republic of South Africa to the Republic of Burundi, and the Report of the Joint International Facilitation Team comprising the EAC, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, the African Union, and the United Nations.

Meanwhile Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza, skipped the regional talks aimed at brokering a deal to end weeks of unrest in the country, choosing instead to campaign for his controversial third term.
“President Pierre Nkurunziza will not attend the summit,” said spokesman Gervais Abahiro, adding that Foreign Minister Alain Aime-Nyamitwe would take his place.

Mr Nkurunziza will instead lead his presidential campaign in Burundi’s central Mwaro and Gitega regions.

he crisis in Burundi surrounds Mr Nkurunziza’s bid to stand for a third consecutive five-year term in office, a move branded by opponents as unconstitutional and a violation of a peace deal that brought an end to years of civil war in 2006.

More than 70 people have been killed in more than two months of protests and a failed coup attempt, with almost 144,000 refugees fleeing into neighbouring nations.

Parliamentary and local elections held last Monday were boycotted by the Opposition.

The UN electoral observer mission said the polls took place “in a tense political crisis, and a climate of widespread fear and intimidation”.

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