East African leaders to meet for Burundi

East African leaders come together to decrease political tension in Burundi before the elections

Photo by: Wikipedia
Photo by: Wikipedia

Updated Jul 28, 2015

A summit will be held by East African leaders in Tanzania on May 13, before the Burundi elections which have brought about a massive series of demonstrations.

The heads of state of Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi, which form the East African Community (EAC) common market, are expected to join the summit in Dar es Salaam, Reuters has reported.

"We have agreed to meet ... to discuss how to help our brothers and sisters in Burundi to hold successful elections and ensure that their nation is united, peaceful and secure without any unnecessary conflicts," Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said in a statement late on Saturday.

Concerning the rising violence in the past month in Burundi, the US envoy said “the government of Burundi has a windows of opportunity to bring the violence to a halt” stating that “the international community is urging President Pierre Nkurunziza to put his people ahead of his personal desire to seek re-election,” AP has reported.

Burundi has been hit by protests in opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election for a third term, while Burundi's constitution stipulates that a president can only serve for two terms.

The constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.

Despite the demonstrations against his third term bid, Burundi's Constitutional Court approved the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza last Tuesday, however the court’s Constitutional Court Vice President, Sylvere Nimpagaritse - who fled to neighbouring Rwanda following threats to his person - said that the country’s top judicial body was forced to change its decision to favor Nkurunziza’s administration.

Since the eruption of violence before the elections, more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Burundi to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN refugee agency has said.

A special envoy, Said Djinnit was assigned by the UN to work in the region in an effort to smooth tensions.

TRTWorld and agencies