BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI-The East African Community (EAC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) recently held roundtable meetings aimed at consolidation stability through peaceful elections in Burundi to be held this year.
The eminent persons from the member states of the two institutions including the EAC Secretary General Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera committed themselves to working in solidarity with the people of Burundi in the period prior, during and after the 2015 general elections while promoting peace building, dialogue, presence and consultation through different sessions between January – September 2015.
The people of Burundi will between May and August 2015, hold Local, Parliamentary, and Presidential Elections that will be crucial in consolidating democratic gains realized since the last general elections in 2010.
They noted that as a country that has emerged from a long conflict, the Elections will provide an opportunity to cement the stability of Burundi, enhance its prosperity and strengthen its contribution to regional integration.
“Elections in Burundi will have social, economic and security impact, not only for Burundi but for the Eastern Africa Region, demonstrating solidarity with the people of Burundi in this important process is crucial,” Amb. Sezibera told The East African Review.
He said that periodic multiparty elections are a necessary pillar in democratic governance by providing the citizenry with the right to elect their leadership through free, fair and regular electoral processes.
Perception that the Arusha Peace Accords, the Constitution of Burundi and other legal Instruments are not clear and not adhered to, especially on issues related to Presidential Term Limits;
Participants identified challenges to the electoral process in Burundi to include the fear of electoral malpractices, insecurity in the country, inadequate resources for the electoral cycle, political intolerance, lack of honest dialogue between and among political actors and perception of media bias. They among others appealed to the media to provide equitable coverage and respect application of the recently amended Media Law.