Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa on Thursday expressed his optimism on the outcome of Burundi dialogue that started Wednesday, saying it will find enough ground to resume normal political life in the country.
Mkapa, who is also the facilitator of the dialogue, said the three-day dialogue will mark the resumption of economic relations in areas where sanctions have been imposed by the international community.
“We will start the process of getting the refugees back, lay foundation of the return of political exiles, that is doable and will expedited by the conversation dialogue in the next days,” he said.
The former president was also categorical that he had intended to meet political parties on Wednesday, and that he was planning to reserve another day for government representatives in the dialogue that brings together politicians, civil society organizations, and political parties, local and international journalists.
“I invited political parties, I’ll have to make special arrangement to meet government representatives as well,” he clarified.
His clarification comes two days after the Burundian government announced its decision to boycott this session which, for the first time, is expected to deal with substantive issues.
President Pierre Nkurunziza’s administration denounced the participation of opposition leaders it claims are sought by the Burundian justice and the presence of a United Nations representative it accuses of being biased.
Three former Burundi presidents, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, Domitien Ndayizeye and Pierre Buyoya were among the delegates that attended yesterday’s dialogue.
During the dialogue, the facilitator is understood to have met representatives from opposition parties including the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), Front for Democracy in Burundi-Nyakuri (FRODEBU-Nyakuri).
Others were Burundi National Liberation Front (FNL) and the Union for National Progress (UPRONA).
The facilitator is expected to meet civil society organizations on Thursday.
The Burundi crisis broke out in April 26, 2015, when President Nkurunziza announced he would run for the 2015 presidential election. The opposition and the civil society accused him of violating the Burundi Constitution and the Arusha Peace Agreement by running for a third controversial and unconstitutional term. Enditem