Benjamin Mkapa: “Burundi government is legitimate”

The facilitator in Burundi crisis, Benjamin Mkapa, felt it was essential to end the issue of the legitimacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza to move forward. “Those who want me to question the legitimacy of Pierre Nkurunziza are out of their mind, it is the people who have given legitimacy to the government,” Benjamin Mkapa told journalists.

The statement was made at the press conference that closed his visit on 9 December. He recalled that the Burundi Constitutional Court and the East African Court of Justice have ruled on the legitimacy of Bujumbura government.

“Even the Security Council recognizes Pierre Nkurunziza as president. He wondered: “Why should we waste so much time discussing an issue that has been solved?” To illustrate this, the facilitator cited the example of the ambassadors who present their credentials to President Nkurunziza.

During the meeting, the former Tanzanian president also spoke of his ultimate goal. It is a question of “bringing the parties to prepare the general elections of 2020 in such a way that they are fair, free and credible”.

As for the stakeholders of the inter-Burundi dialogue, he was clear: “The instigators of the coup and those who have dived into violence have no place at the negotiation table. They are not my priority. I ask the host countries to control them well so that they do not destabilize our ongoing dialogue. “His priority is therefore to bring together non-violent opposition and the government in order to reach an agreement that will allow them to move forward.

At the press conference, President Mkapa also spoke about the internal dialogue conducted by the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue (CNDI). According to him, the Burundian population is entitled to engage in internal dialogue. He concluded: “We do not have the prerogatives to deny the Burundian people the right to review their history or revise their Constitution.”

Continue reading on IWACU (Burundi)

By Agnès Ndirubusa

Translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

Picture credit: Tony Karumba/Getty Images