World, Africa

Burundi opposition wants new mediator for crisis talks

Opposition CNARED group urges Ugandan president to immediately replace current facilitator after 'failure' in peace talks

06.01.2017 - Update : 06.01.2017
Burundi opposition wants new mediator for crisis talks File photo


Burundian opposition has called on the Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to appoint a new facilitator in mediation efforts to end the country’s political crisis.

The opposition accused Benjamin Mkapa, facilitator of the Burundi peace talks and former Tanzanian president, of supporting the government.

"CNARED is asking the mediator of the Burundi crisis, Yoweri Museveni, to enter into consultation with the other heads of state of the East African Community (EAC) to find a new facilitator," it said in a statement late Thursday.

Pending the appointment of a new facilitator, CNARED called on Mkapa to cease all efforts in organizing further inter-Burundian dialogue.

"Mkapa disqualified himself. He violated the basic principles of a facilitator that is to say impartiality and neutrality," the statement said.

It also called on the African Union and the United Nations to support the new facilitator.

"Given the lack of effectiveness of Mkapa's facilitation, CNARED asks that the future facilitator should be assisted by an AU and UN team with negotiating experts and linguistically able to communicate easily with the parties," the statement said.

In December the CNARED called on Mkapa to resign after he said Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza was legitimate.

Mkapa was appointed facilitator of Burundi peace talks in March 2016.

Meanwhile, the bureau of facilitation is busy preparing for a new round of Burundi peace talks scheduled for January. Mkapa had earlier said that the solution to the Burundian crisis will be found in June 2017.

The violence that erupted in April 2015 in Burundi has led to the death of about 1,000 people and forced over 310,000 more to flee the country and seek refuge in neighboring states, according to a report issued last November by the International Federation of Human Rights.

Reporting by Jean Bosco-Yvan Rukundo; Writing by Felix Nkambeh Tih

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