Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Defiant Burundi leader confirms third term bid

07 May 2015, 08:00

Bujumbura - Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza insisted on Wednesday he would run for a controversial third term in elections set for June, defying international pressure to refrain from trying to extend his rule, despite deadly protests.

"If the people of Burundi put their trust in us, it will be the last mandate I seek, as determined by the Constitutional Court," Nkurunziza said in a televised speech.

Holding an election was "the only solution" to the crisis triggered by his bid to prolong his 10-year tenure, he added.

Over a dozen people have been killed and scores wounded since late April, when the ruling CNDD-FDD nominated Nkurunziza to stand for re-election, triggering daily protests.

The police has been accused of using live ammunition in clashes with protesters in the capital Bujumbura.

Over 35 000 Burundians have fled the country in recent weeks, mostly to Rwanda.

Opposition parties and civil society groups say Nkurunziza's third-term quest violates both the constitution, which limits a president to two terms in office, and the accords that ended a 13-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus in 2006.

The Constitutional Court found in favour of the rebel leader-turned-president in a ruling Tuesday, saying his first presidential term did not count as he was elected by parliament, not directly by the people.

'Last chance'

The government and opposition held talks Wednesday to try to defuse the tensions.

"This is a last chance... they have to come up with concrete solutions so that elections can be held in acceptable conditions," a Western diplomat said of the talks, warning international funding for the polls could be cut if a deal was not struck.

But the main opposition leader Agathon Rwasa said the crisis had already gone too far and demanded the June 26 vote be postponed, arguing the "credibility of the electoral process is already in doubt".

Rwasa also called for the ruling party's youth wing, a powerful militia called the Imbonerakure, to be disarmed.

At least 16 people were wounded in renewed clashes Wednesday in Bujumbura, according to the Red Cross. Witnesses reported at least two grenade explosions.

Burundi's foreign ministry downplayed the violence, saying that "peace and security reigned" across the country, apart from "a few districts of the capital... shaken by illegal demonstrations and violence triggered by certain political opponents".

Also read: Burundi govt, opposition hold talks on political crisis

The police arrested a leading activist, Audifax Ndabitoreye, for "insurrection," an AFP journalist witnessed.

The arrest of the dual Burundi and Dutch national came a day after he called for further protests.

He was released later in the day, but told AFP it was possible he would still have to be questioned by the intelligence services at a later date.

Vice-President Prosper Bazombanza offered to release demonstrators who had been arrested, lift arrest warrants issued for key activists and reopen independent radio stations -- on condition that "the insurrection stop".

Crisis summit called

East African foreign ministers, from neighbouring Rwanda and Tanzania as well as Kenya and Uganda, met in Bujumbura Wednesday to discuss the crisis.

The ministers announced an emergency meeting of regional leaders to discuss the situation on May 13 in Tanzania.

Tuesday's thumbs-up from the constitutional court to Nkurunziza's re-election bid incensed protesters.

The court's vice-president fled the country after refusing to sign the judgement.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday he was "deeply concerned" about Nkurunziza's bid to remain in power, which he said "flies directly in the face of the constitution".

The head of the UN's refugee agency, Antonio Guterres, said he was "extremely worried" by the situation.

"We thought Burundian refugees were something we would never have to discuss again, unfortunately we are back to having a significant outflow of Burundians," he said, adding: "It must stop. We have enough crises in the world."

Rwanda has said it has received reports linking the violence to ethnic Hutu rebels from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), who fled Rwanda into Democratic Republic of Congo after the 1994 Rwandan genocide of mainly Tutsis.

Rwanda has previously sent troops into DRC to tackle the rebels.

Burundi's foreign ministry dismissed the reports, saying such forces would not be "tolerated on Burundian territory".



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...