Burundi’s high-risk campaigns

womenchildren710apsipaPresident Pierre Nkurunziza and his allies’ determination to press ahead with parliamentary and presidential elections on 29 June and 15 July, respectively, is fuelling Burundi’s deepening crisis.
Given that opposition parties say they will boycott the polls, the outcome could be a one-party state facing mass opposition.
AU Commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been uncharacteristically direct in her criticism of Nkurunziza’s campaign to win a third term.
Dlamini-zuma said it contravened both Burundi’s constitution and the Arusha Peace Accords, of which the AU is a guarantor.
She called for the postponement of the elections.
At its mid-June summit in South Africa, the AU announced it would send military experts to Burundi to monitor human rights abuses and to ensure the disarmament of armed groups.
Alarmingly, violence is intensifying as police crack down on protests.
Oppositionists have clashed with the Imbonerakure militia, which backs Nkurunziza and is targeted for disarmament by the AU team.
In neighbouring Rwanda, a campaign to secure President Paul Kagame a third term has proved successful.
After a petition, signed by millions of citizens, Rwanda’s lawmakers voted in mid July in favour of a constitutional change that would allow Kagame run again for office in 2016.
Rwanda’s foreign minister Louise Mushikiwabo has sounded alarms about links between the Imbonerakure and the anti-Kagame rebels of the FDLR. ●

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