12 March 2016

Burundi: Opposition Not Amused With African Union

Burundi opposition leaders have blamed the African Union for lack of transparency and inability to defend democracy in the country after the five African heads of state visited the country recently.

The African Union high level delegation visited Burundi during which they met opposition and ruling party leaders, religious leaders and civil society organisations in search for an end to violence that has rocked the country for more than nine months now.

"The high level delegation of the heads of state and government expressed its concerns about levels of violence, loss of life and the general state of political instability in the country. The government of Burundi has committed to the deployment of 100 AU human-rights observers and 100 military monitors to Burundi to monitor the situation," said South Africa's President Jacob Zuma who led the African Union high level delegation in Bujumbura.

President Zuma said Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni will convene an inclusive dialogue that will be attended by all relevant stakeholders as soon as possible to continue the work that he has already started of facilitating peace talks in Burundi.

However, the Burundi government maintained its position of not engaging leaders whom it accused of plotting last year's coup and supporting violent protests in the peace talks.

Article 23 of AU Charter

"The AU declaration after the five president delegation is something that doesn't surprise anyone since the AU lost courage in the beginning to interpret Article 23 of its Charter on democracy, elections and governance," former Burundi vice president Gervais Rufyikiri told The EastAfrican.

Article 23 of the African Union Charter condemns illegal means of accessing power, provides for sanctions by the African Union against the government that comes to power through coup, or that refuses to relinquish power to a winning candidate after free and fair elections.

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