In the past few weeks, Burundi has witnessed a volatile situation following the announcement by President Nkurunziza that he will be running for another presidential term. The constitutional stalemate that was supposed to be addressed by the highest court in Burundi has since taken another twist after the “fleeing” of the top court judge. The judge is said to have been under extreme pressure from higher ranking government officials and has even faced death threats. The situation has resulted in violent protests across the country that have led to reported deaths. Thus far, violent clashes by protesters have claimed the lives of 13 people in less than a week. It is expected that the number may rise with increasingly violent protests.
The Organization of World Peace (OWP) urges all sides to exercise utmost restraint to avoid further bloodshed and conflict. Violence is not the solution to the Burundi Crisis. One of the means of ensuring a viable solution to the constitutional crisis in Burundi is through a discussion of the involved parties to Iron the alleged, “Constitutional Coup”. It is important for the constitutional rights of Burundians to also be upheld. The increasing street protests and violence demonstrate that most Burundians believe that their rights have been violated. The protests are the largest the country has ever witnessed since the end of the civil war that the country faced in 2005. This is the year that President Nkurunziza took over the mandate of running the country. The war-torn country is at the edge of another civil war with increasing protests.
OWP is calling for a nonviolent, clear and just electoral process to ensure that Burundi consolidates the democratic process and citizen participation in the country. This would be critical in preventing further political instability. There is concern that the violence may end up spurring ethnic conflict, plunging the country into an explosive civil war.
United States secretary John Kerry told a news conference in Nairobi that he was “deeply concerned” about President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand again for elections. He termed the actions and statements as flying, “directly in the face of the constitution” Burundi is due to have local and parliamentary elections this month (May) while presidential elections are expected on 26 June.
The Organisation of World Peace (OWP) will continue to monitor the situation closely.
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