The African Union’s new recommendations regarding the crisis in Burundi have been cautiously welcomed by the opposition, which claims they somewhat failed to address the issue of the third mandate. It is estimated between 60 and 70 have died and around 150,000 civilians have sought refuge in neighbouring countries since the start of the violence on 26 April, when Burundi’s ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for re-election. Opposition leaders want the president to withdraw his third-term bid, claiming it violates the country’s constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended ethnic civil war and established the foundation for Burundi’s post-conflict recovery in 2005.
But Nkurunziza’s supporters argue the president’s first term should be discounted as he was chosen by the parliament and not by the people in an election as is specified in the agreement.
On Sunday (14 June), meanwhile, the Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU) published a set of recommendations to end the crisis in Burundi after its meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
It is worth noting that neither Nkurunziza, Rwanda’s president Paul Kagame and the leader of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Joseph Kabila – who all look set to run for third terms in their respective nations – were present at the meeting.