Elections: Burundi Must Not Burn

Published on 27th April 2015

President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office has elicited civilian protests that have seen three people lose their lives, more than 12,000 people flee to neighbouring countries and the main independent radio station shut down. Under the constitution, presidents can only be elected to two terms in office but his CNDD-FDD party says his first term does not count as he was appointed by parliament.

Burundians would do well to avoid turning against each other. Legal experts must interpret the two terms law soberly. The President must put the country’s interest first and shun becoming captive to interest groups that would rather watch the country burn than lose trappings that come with power. The 2005 peace deal that ended the 12-year civil war that cost more than 300,000 lives must not come to nought.

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