Posted by: africanpressorganization | 20 August 2008

Burundi / Restarting Political Dialogue


Burundi / Restarting Political Dialogue


BUJUMBURA, Burundi, August 20, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Burundi’s political crisis is not solved and may yet jeopardise the country’s future stability.

Burundi: Restarting Political Dialogue,* the latest briefing from the International Crisis Group, points out that disarmament has barely started, and no consensus has been reached on integrating former rebels into state and security institutions. Burundi cannot afford to have wasted three years in legislative gridlock and then move directly towards the preparation of the 2010 elections without delivering peace dividends.

“The absence of a constructive dialogue between the ruling CNDD-FDD party and opposition parties is harmful for the country’s governance and its long-term stability”, says François Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. “Local political actors and Burundi’s international partners must recognise the dangers of running the country unilaterally”.

The current political impasse stems from the crisis within the CNDD-FDD leadership and President Pierre Nkurunziza’s refusal to conclude a power-sharing agreement with the leaders of opposition parties. Against a backdrop of mounting insecurity, tensions between political parties have heightened in the National Assembly to the point that government action was paralysed.

In early June 2008, the Constitutional Court, under pressure from CNDD-FDD, authorised the replacement of 22 dissident CNDD-FDD parliamentarians with loyal supporters of the party leadership, in violation of the constitution. The CNDD-FDD’s authoritarian move illustrates a clear desire to limit all checks on its power.

To avoid any violence in the run-up to the 2010 elections, it is essential that political consultations are carried out to choose the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission and begin revisions of the electoral code. Any constitutional changes should follow recommendations of a National Committee for Institutional Reforms, whose membership should reflect all political camps and ethnic-regional groupings.

“The CNDD-FDD’s authoritarian tendencies are pushing opposition parties towards radicalisation”, warns Daniela Kroslak, Deputy-Director of Crisis Group’s Africa Program. “They could be tempted to pursue alliances with the Palipehutu-FNL during the next election, which could lead to a renewed ethnic tone to political discourse and put into question the progress achieved by Arusha”.



SOURCE : International Crisis Group


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