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STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF BURUNDI FOLLOWING THE DIFFERENT REACTIONS OF BURUNDI’S SOCIO-POLITICAL ACTORS TO THE EXCHANGE OF CORRESPONDENCES BETWEEN THE PRESIDENTS OF BURUNDI AND UGANDA

1. On 4 December 2018, His Excellency Pierre NKURUNZIZA, President of the Republic of Burundi, sent a letter to his counterpart, His Excellency Yoweri KAGUTA MUSEVENI, President of the Republic of Uganda and current Chairperson of the EAC Heads of State Summit. In this letter, President Pierre Nkurunziza reacted above all to a correspondence from his Ugandan counterpart, who conveyed to him the report of the Facilitator in the inter-Burundian dialogue, His Excellency Benjamin William MKAPA.

This report contained some confusing statements that required prompt clarification. Then, President Pierre NKURUNZIZA presented the main concerns of Burundi on the conduct of some EAC Heads of State Summits, as well as on the conduct of the inter-Burundian dialogue. Amongst other major concerns are the respect for the principle of sovereignty of member states that emanate from the sovereignty of their peoples, the principle of good neighborliness, respect for the law and the rule of law.

2. On 8 December 2018, His Excellency Yoweri KAGUTA MUSEVENI also replied to the aforementioned letter from President NKURUNZIZA. This letter, which unfortunately was circulated through unusual channels, the social media, before reaching its Highest Recipient, also contains a number of assertions that have prompted many considerations and various comments from some Burundian socio-political actors.
Without being exhaustive, here are some issues that have been the subject of particular attention :
• The confusion, perhaps involuntary, by President MUSEVENI between the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) and the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue (CNDI) ;
• The revisionism of the tragic history of our country from independence to the present day
• The negotiations of the Government of Burundi with the putschists ;
• Double standards policy : false comparison between Rwanda and Burundi ;
• The underestimation of the conflict between Rwanda and Burundi ;
• The questioning / non-recognition of peace and democracy in Burundi ;

The Government of Burundi has taken careful note of President MUSEVENI’s correspondence and the various protests of some Burundian socio-political actors who have reacted to this correspondence.

3. The Government of Burundi hereby informs the public that :
 The democratic culture is ingrained in the Burundian society and nothing will come to undermine the progress already made.
 Democratically elected institutions will never negotiate with the putschists. For the Government of Burundi, negotiating with the putschists means endorsing and legitimizing the return of de facto powers, a backtracking and a perpetual cycle of perpetual questioning of the will of the people every time after the elections, tendencies that the Government of Burundi has the firm determination to shrug off permanently and irreversibly. The place of the putschists for the Government of Burundi is before the courts and not on a negotiation table. The Government of Burundi requests instead the member states and especially the host states to give Burundi a hand in this way by extraditing them for justice to be done.

 The revisionism of the tragic history of our country since independence to this day, making a Manichean reading plotting good people against bad people is not likely to reconcile people. This is a step backwards as Burundi has already achieved reconciliation, as evidenced by the establishment of all the transitional justice mechanisms provided for in the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement and enshrined in the Constitution of June 7, 2018.

These include :
-  The Ombudsman Institution ;
-  The National Commission of Lands and Other Assets (CNTB) ;
-  The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (CVR) ;
-  The National Council for Unity and Reconciliation (CNUNR) ;
-  The National Independent Commission on Human Rights (CNIDH) ;
-  The National Observatory for the Prevention and Eradication of Genocide, War Crimes and Other Crimes against Humanity (ONPGH).

These mechanisms are working successfully and the country has stabilized since 2003 to the present day. The questioning and / or non-recognition of peace in Burundi is a denial of all these mechanisms mentioned above. It aims to undermine the hard-won peace, thus backing the detractors and troublemakers of/in the country, and our Government can never condone this suicidal and irresponsible path.

 The Government of Burundi has already interacted with the stakeholders and some skeptical elements in Burundi, as witnessed by the inter-Burundian dialogue sessions led by the CNDI. The report and the recommendations resulting from this dialogue were incorporated in the Constitution of 07 June 2018 ; and Recently the Kayanza road map for the 2020 elections has been agreed upon by political and opposition parties and political actors.

 The issue of Rwanda’s aggression against Burundi must be taken seriously by the East African Community member States in accordance with the sacrosanct principle of good neighborliness enshrined in the EAC Treaty. The underestimation of this aggression is not likely to favor good regional integration. Burundi believes that addressing this issue properly is a prerequisite for the smooth running of the activities of the EAC.

4. For the moment, the main concern of the Government of Burundi is the preparation of the 2020 elections as an arbitrator because only political parties and independents will compete. Burundi welcomes the massive return of refugees and takes this opportunity to ask all Burundians who are still outside to return home in order to bring their contribution in the building of the country. At the same time, the Government of the Republic of Burundi thanks all the countries that contribute to this return and urges other countries to refrain from preventing the return of Burundians to their country.

5. Finally, the Government of Burundi reiterates once again its commitment to the values of peace, democracy, regional integration and sovereignty, pillars of the East African community, and urges the people of Burundi not to be distracted by detractors of peace, to keep calm and to carry on in unity and solidarity their daily routines to develop their country.

Done at Bujumbura, January 08, 2019
Prosper NTAHORWAMIYE
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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