East Africa: Mkapa Optimistic About Burundi Peace Talks

Riots in Burundi (file photo).

THE curtain of the fifth Inter Burundi Dialogue (IBD) came down yesterday with former Tanzanian President Benjamin William Mkapa expressing his optimism about peace talks.

Through a statement read to the media by his special adviser David Kapya, Mr Mkapa, who is also the IBD facilitator, said he was impressed and satisfied with what transpired throughout the IBD, which lasted for five days at Ngurodoto Mountain Lodge Hotel.

Mr Kapya noted that Mr Mkapa was determined to submit recommendations tabled by warring factions to the mediator and the EAC summit later this year.

"I will submit the roadmap that you have developed, particularly the Kayanza Roadmap 2013 and that of 2018 together with a report of the IBD process to the mediator and through the mediator to the EAC summit for reflection on the way forward," said Mr Mkapa.

According to the adviser, Mr Mkapa's recommendations to the mediator and the EAC summit will be to remain seized of the situation in Burundi and to engage both the country's government and the opposition to agree on the remaining points of disagreement so that preparations for holding free, fair and credible elections in 2020 could be undertaken.

The former president was, however, categorical that the IBD was his last session to preside at as the EAC facilitator.

The IBD kicked off on a negative note with representatives from opposition political parties, civil societies and special groups shunning the peace talks.

Since the regional mediated talks were launched in 2015, the Burundi government has insisted that it will not sit with people it accuses of plotting the failed coup, a move that has stalled the talks for the past three years.

But speaking yesterday, Mr Kapya insisted that although the Burundian government had failed to show up, they still floated their recommendations for implementation.

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