Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Burundi Up for Key Talks With Regional Legislators
18th January 2016

BURUNDI has expressed its willingness of having an audience with East African lawmakers in a bid of ending the political chaos in the country.

The assurance comes as the East African Legislative Assembly’s (EALA) Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee (RACR) finished a four day hearing and deliberation of petitions by civil societies in the region which were submitted to them in November last year.

The 13 member committee also sought to establish facts of humanitarian atrocities as reported in the petition and make recommendations to the House during the next Sitting scheduled to begin in Arusha next week.

Recently, Burundi has been on the receiving end of criticism following it’s seemingly reluctance to participating in peace talks that were convened in Arusha.

Briefing reporters at the weekend , the Chairperson of the committee, Abdullah Mwinyi said the government of Burundi and officials from the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party were  ready to meet his committee to have their side of stories and suggest ways of ending violence.

 “The government of Burundi is ready to meet us on the proposed date and just like the civil societies we will listen to their suggestions on how best we can end the humanitarian crisis,” said Mwinyi.

For over nine months now Burundi has become an unsettled country since the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a third term in the disputed 2015 presidential election.

According to Mwinyi, from the two audiences, his committee would review and compile a full report and forward it to EAC foreign ministers and later to the EAC Heads of State Summit which is due to meet in Arusha next month.

“Our zeal is to see the violence in Burundi come to an end sooner than later which is why we are happy to announce that we are going to meet Burundi officials next week,” he added.

Last week civil societies in the East African region pushed for the axing of Burundi from the EAC bloc following its ‘unwillingness’ of participating in peace talks.

Under the umbrella of the East African Civil Society Organizations’ Forum (EACSOF) the activists also suggested to the EAC and the UN to have the country slapped with economic sanctions.

On Friday, East African Lawmakers heard of the discovery of mass graves in some parts of the country and the detaining of more than 60,000 protesters since April last year.

The Mwinyi led team also heard of the 10,000 sexual abuse cases reported in the country coupled by daily havoc caused by the Imbonerakure,  a youth wing militia group belonging to the ruling CNDD-FDD.

Meanwhile in Bujumbura, the Burundian Supreme Court issued on Friday afternoon the verdict for 28 suspects in the failed coup plot staged on May 13, 2015, with four facing life jail.

Judges had left the capital Bujumbura, where the Supreme Court is based, for Gitega town, 102 km east of the east African country's capital Bujumbura where all the 28 suspects are detained, to issue the judgment.According to the judges, four generals were sentenced to "life jail" for being masterminds of the failed coup staged against President Pierre Nkurunziza and other institutions on May 13, 2015 while Nkurunziza was in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania attending an East African Community (EAC) summit.The four generals are Cyrille Ndayirukiye, who was the deputy-chief of coup plotters, Zenon Ndabaneze, Hermenegilde Nimenya and Juvenal Niyungeko nicknamed Kiroho.Nine other suspects were sentenced to 30 years in jail.

The verdict also said eight suspects will serve five years in jail while seven other suspects were acquitted.The head of coup plotters - Major General Godefroid Niyombare - went into exile after security forces failed to capture him when the suspects in the failed coup plot surrendered and declared their defeat on May 14, 2015.During the trial, Major General Cyrille Ndayirukiye admitted to have attempted to overthrow institutions, stressing that he staged the coup in order to have the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian constitution respected.Coup plotters were against the candidature of Pierre Nkurunziza in the presidential election which he later won in July 2015, arguing that Nkurunziza's new term was a third term, in violation of the Arusha Agreement and the Burundian constitution that provide a two-term limit for a president of the east African nation.

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