Museveni has arrived in Dar es Salaam for EAC Extra Ordinary summit on BurundiCrisis
Burundi?s incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza?s bid to seek a third term in office has plunged the East African nation into chaos, with running battles between protesters and police now into the third week. The number of people killed since protests erupted, on April 26 is said to be about 22, based on an unofficial tally by activists.
Hundreds more have reportedly been injured and detained. Graphic images and videos of police brutality on protestors continue to circulate online.
Over 42,000 Burundians have fled into the neighbouring countries to escape violence.
All East African Presidents, including President Pierre Nkurunziza, are expected in the Tanzanian capital; Dar Es Salam to attend an emergency summit aimed at resolving the Burundi crisis
President Pierre Nkurunziza was the first to arrive in Dar Es Salam this morning, followed by Presidents Paul Kagame and Museveni. President Uhuru Kenyatta to attend too.
The 13th East African Community Extra Ordinary Summit was called by the current chair; Tanzania?s president; Mwiriso Jakaya Kikwete.
The summit will take place after another extra-ordinary meeting of defence ministers from member states of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), which is underway, in Angola, to discuss the ongoing political crisis in Burundi.
The African Union, USA and South Africa have sent high level delegates to attend the Dar Es Salam special summit on Burundi crisis.
On Tuesday security and intelligence chiefs from ICGLR member states also met in Luanda, Angola and discussed the Burundi question, among other regional issues.
According to a statement issued by the ICGLR communication officer, Macdonald Mwakasendile, the defence ministers will consider the report security and intelligence chiefs submitted on how to move on Burundi.
The defence ministers are also expected discuss the developments in the conflict-riddled Central Africa Republic, South Sudan and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Defence ministers meeting will be chaired by the President of Angola, Jos Eduardo Dos Santos, who on May 7 sent a special message to Nkurunzinza on the current situation in Burundi.
The ICGLR will also hold a special summit of Heads of States to discuss security situation in the region.
Member states of ICGLR include; Uganda, Angola, Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Congo Brazzaville, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia and South Sudan.
Voices against Nkurunziza 3rd term bid
Opponents say President Pierre Nkurunziza?s bid for another five years in office in a June 26 election violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended civil war in 2005. Both documents set a two-term limit but a court ruled he could run.
The African Union, USA, EU and South Africa have warned Burundi?s president against seeking a third term.
Speaking during at event in Switzerland on May 8th, Rwanda?s president Paul Kagame voiced his opinion on Nkurunziza?s 3rd term bid, saying;
?If your own citizens tell you we don?t want you to lead us, how do you say I am staying whether you want me or not!?
Burundi?s Catholic Bishops declared in a statement that the incumbent President, Pierre Nkurunziza was not eligible to stand for a third term in this year?s June elections.
Speaking earlier this month, Archbishop Evariste Ngoyagoye the Metropolitan Archbishop of Bujumbura said in a statement that, ?We call upon politicians in power not to speculate or misinterpret the constitution. All the constitution provisions about the President?s terms are very clear: no President can lead the country for more than two terms of five years each.?
Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete also warned that Burundi risks civil strife if the President does not abide by the constitution which prevents him from running for another term in the Burundi general elections scheduled for 26th June.
President Kikwete, who is also the chairman of the East African Community, made his comments when he gave the state of East African community address to the Legislative Assembly that took place Thursday in the capital, Bujumbura.
Under Burundi?s constitution and the terms of a peace deal to end more than a decade of Burundi?s civil war, no leader is allowed to be in power for more than 10 years. Nkurunziza himself has not yet said he will run in June?s election. His supporters, however, insist he is eligible to run. They argue that his first term does not count since he was picked by lawmakers rather than voted into office by universal suffrage. Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005.
By Samuel Ouga, The New Vision