The Burundian government has stated its refusal to attend the peace talks set to continue in Tanzania on Thursday.
The opposition coalition, CNARED are nonetheless still open to attending the peace talks, despite their accusation of mediator Benjamin William Mkapa who has been deemed biased for his endorsement of President Nkurnziza whom Mkapa described as legitimate.
The peace talks are an avenue to find a solution to the ongoing crisis in Burundi which began as a result of President Piere Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term. The CNARED have, however, complained about being sidelined n the peace talks which seems to be more in favour with the present government than the concerns of the people.
When President Nkurunziza sought to extend his rule, the opposition protested, citing a violation of the constitution and the Arusha 2000 peace deal which was significant in ending a decade-long ethnic civil war.
Protests and demonstrations became the order of the day as Burundians sought to prevent their president from extending his rule.
Despite it being unconstitutional for the President to seek a third term, the country’s highest court approved the extension of his rule. As protests spread, the government clamped down on opposing voices, which has subsequently led to the death and disappearances of many civilians, with some fleeing to neighbouring countries.
On July 21, a presidential election was held, despite the opposition boycotting the election. It was characterised by intense violence and riots which led to the flight of the Vice President and President of the National Assembly, as well as other notable figures.
The peace talks which are being mediated by former President of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, began in 2016. However, the government says it will not be participating in the second phase of the peace talks, citing irregularities.
“The government of Burundi finds some irregularities in the organisation of this present session,” a government statement said on Wednesday.
Phillipe Nzobonariba, a government spokesman, stated that the government is not in favour of the presence of senior U.N. adviser Benomar Jamal, in the forthcoming meeting.
Although the government did not explicitly state a reason, Burundi’s disdain for the United Nations has been wide out in the open. The government claims the international organisation is biased in its assession of human rights crimes in Burundi.
See Also: Gambia Set To Rejoin The Commonwealth
According to the UN, at least 500 people have died as a result of the Burundi crisis. More than 79,000 people have been internally displaced, and 250,000 have fled the country since the crisis begun