Saturday March 19 2016

Museveni, Mkapa discuss Burundi crisis

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa (L)

Former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa (L) and Uganda president Yoweri Museveni (R) on Wednesday discussed the current Burundi political crisis that has left at least 400 people dead. PPU photo 


Kampala. President Museveni and former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa on Wednesday discussed at the current Burundi political crisis that has left at least 400 people dead.
According to the statement issued by State House, Mr Museveni and Mkapa, who is also facilitator of the Burundi peace talks, met at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi where MPs from the ruling NRM party are having a retreat.
“President Museveni, who is the chief mediator of the peace talks on Burundi, was briefed on the progress of the negotiations by Mr Benjamin Mkapa.” the statement reads in part.

Mr Mkapa replaced Uganda’s Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga who had been facilitating the talks when President Museveni was campaigning for the just concluded elections.
State minister for Regional Cooperation Philemon Mateke on Thursday said Mr Mkapa had come to brief the President on the progress of the talks brokered by the East African Community.
He said the warring parties in Burundi have been meeting in Bujumbura. “Internal dialogue is going on. We are waiting for the external meeting to be chaired by President Museveni,” Mateke said.

He didn’t say which parties are representing the opposition in the internal dialogue after some of them fled to exile while others took up arms against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s regime while others have been jailed.
During his visit to Burundi in February, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced that President Nkurunziza was willing to resume talks with the opposition. The talks had derailed after an earlier hitch when government insisted that some members of the opposition were not worth negotiating with because they allegedly participated in a coup attempt last year.

Peace talks

The Burundi crisis was triggered by Nkurunziza’s controversial decision in April last year to run for a third term, which he went on to win in the July chaotic election. He has opposed an AU proposal to send peacekeepers to his country.