- Burundi’s political crisis is not solved and may yet jeopardise the country’s future stability, an international think tank group warned.
In its latest briefing, the International Crisis Group said Burundi's disarmament barely started, and no consensus has been reached on integrating former rebels into state and security institutions. It said the country cannot afford to have "wasted years in legislative gridlock" and then move directly towards the preparation of the 2010 elections without delivering peace dividends.
"The absence of a constructive dialogue between the ruling CNDD-FDD party and opposition parties is harmful for the country’s governance and its long-term stability," observed François Grignon, Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director. "Local political actors and Burundi’s international partners must recognise the dangers of running the country unilaterally."
Burundi's current political impasse is believed to have stemmed from the crisis within the CNDD-FDD leadership and President Pierre Nkurunziza's refusal to conclude a power-sharing agreement with the leaders of opposition parties. Consequently, tensions between political parties have heightened in the national assembly to the extent that government action was paralysed.
Under pressure from CNDD-FDD, the constitutional court in June authorised the replacement of 22 dissident CNDD-FDD parliamentarians with loyal supporters of the party leadership, in violation of the constitution. The authoritarian move was in line with the ruling party's clear desire to "limit all checks on its power."
To avoid any violence in the run-up to the 2010 elections, it is essential that political consultations are carried out to choose the members of the Independent National Electoral Commission and begin revisions of the electoral code, the Crisis Group advised, warning that any constitutional changes should follow recommendations of a National Committee for Institutional Reforms, whose membership should reflect all political camps and ethnic-regional groupings.
"The CNDD-FDD’s authoritarian tendencies are pushing opposition parties towards radicalisation," warned Daniela Kroslak, Deputy-Director of Crisis Group’s Africa Program. "They could be tempted to pursue alliances with the Palipehutu-FNL during the next election, which could lead to a renewed ethnic tone to political discourse and put into question the progress achieved by Arusha."
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