Burundi: Save Democracy Crusade

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    Break the silence. Stop the violence. Your voice, our salvation. Following the declaration by the president of the Burundi ruling party CNDD-FDD  that the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza will stand for a third term against all principles of democracy and the terms of the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement, activists of the civil society organizations and leaders of opposition parties called for peacefull demonstrations to refuse this unconstitutional move.

    The 2005 Consitution of Burundi premised on the Arusha Peace Agreement fixes the mandate for presidency at 2 terms renewable only one time. Pierre Nkurunziza has been at the State House since 2005 after his election by members of the Parliament as stipulated in the Arusha Peace Accord. He was first sworn in as President in August 2005 and reelected in 2010. He and his party circle have been fighting tooth and nails to convince the people that he has only served one term in acordance with the principle of universal suffrage.

    In a bid to convince him not to violate the constitution and to save the country from relapsing into conflict, voices have been raised from all the corners of the world. The Burundian Civil Society Organizations, the Opposition Parties, the 15 members of the UN Security Council, the European Union, the African Union and the Archbishops Conference of Burundi. His own party members advised him to desist from this devilish intention but to no avail. Members of his party splinter group are today removed from the party and majority from their public service posiitions.

    In face of this obstinate behavior and determination to rule by force and reign on ashes, demonstrators descended in thousands on Bujumbura streets in an unprecedented mobilization of men, women, young people, regardless of their affiliations whatsoever. The police met the demonstrators with tear gas, water canon, and at occasions live amunitions. It is claimed that 5 persons lost their lives at the hands of the police. Many more have been injured. The private media RPA is closed down and others like Isanganiro and Bonesha FM, Radio Television Renaissance are only broadcasting in the City Capital Bujumbura. Suspected suburbs of the city are now in total power blackout. Telephone lines have been cut off in a bid to deny citizens means to communicate with one another.

    Millions of rural populations are left in the dark on what is happening in their mother country. Al private media will soon be closed down and only the media affiliated to the party in power are broadcasting hate messages with ethnic overtones to divert the attention of the populations and international community.

    The national Intelligence agency is cracking down on members of the civil society organizations. Pierre Claver Mbonimpa of the the Association for the Prisoners' Rights, Pacifique Nininahazwe of FOCODE have been arrested and are in unknown custody. Many more will follow tomorrow. Those who want to seek refuge and protection in neighbouring countries are arrested and detained while others are shipwrecked while trying to cross Lake Tanganika into the DRC. It is claimed that the ruling party has enlisted young militia or the former combattants into the ranks of the police to battle out the demonstrators. Round-ups are organized at night where peaceful citizens are killed and injured.

    The world cannot sit back and watch while the situation is deteriorating day by day. While the condemnations by the US Department of State, the EU, the AU and others are critical steps in the move to prevent the situation from sinking into chaos, given that the declarations  that the incumbent president will be held responsible for all that will result from this chaotic situation cannot deter him from his evil intentions; Burundian citizens deserve more and those who have the power to stop the violence are put in front of their responsibilities now than ever before. Now that you know I dare hope that we will not find ourselves in the deplorable situation where we once again say "Never Again".

    You have the power to save Burundi from falling into the abyss. Use that power now and the world will remember you as valliant sons and daughters whose ideals of peace, democracy and humanity trump all devil intentions and self-seeking interests. Break the silence, stop the violence. Your voice, our salvation. Tomorrow may be too late. Go!!

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