The decision by Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza to accept endorsement by his party to run for a third term is the biggest blow to the rule of law and a classic example of high level arrogance and disregard of the plight and the rights of the Burundi citizens. Mr Nkurunziza was endorsed saturday by his ruling CNDD-FDD during a special congress to run for a controversial third term against the tiny Central Africa Country’s constitution.
That the special congress took place a mid tight security means that Mr. Nkurunziza’s candidature is not popular with the majority of Burundi citizens and this coupled by a mass exodus of civilians especially those opposed to his third term points to intimidation and dictatorship and he should be prepared to take responsibility should there be bloodshed as a result of his reckless move.
Already widespread condemnation has greeted Nkurunziza’s move ranging from the UN SG Ban Ki Moon and Civil Society Organizations (CSO) across the region. Mashinani Rights and Justice Network (MRJN) which brings together grassroots organizations across the East African region has already condemned the move and has vowed to mobilize protests to Burundi embassies across the region. Miss Sophie an official of MRJN and also the coordinator of World March of Women (WMW) African region condemned the move and asked all MRJN and WMW chapters in the region and across the globe to send petitions to Burundi embassies in solidarity with the Burundi people. Already in Kenya a protest is being organized to the Burundi embassy and a similar petition planned to EALA and EACJ in Arusha.
Global Campaign for Military Spending (GCOMS) Africa chapter has also condemned the move and has asked the Burundi administration not to use the country’s military spending to oppress the innocent and unarmed citizens. GCOMS has also asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to monitor the situation in Burundi with a possibility of prosecuting Nkurunziza and top officials of his ruling CNDD-FDD including its head Pascal Nyabenda.
“GCOMS is asking the East African Community to impose sanctions on Burundi until it returns to the the rule of law” said David the convener of GCOMS Africa. He warned that calling the army to intimidate and stop Burundi people from demonstrating “shall be tantamount to declaring war against its citizens” and asked Nkurunziza to emulate the outgoing Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan who accepted defeat adding that “there is life after presidency”. “He (Nkurunziza) should be ready to take criminal responsibility of any violence that would follow as GCOMS and other CSOs will push for his indictment at the ICC”.