The political intrigues that have seen Burundians allegedly extend presidential terms in Burundi - potentially extending current leader Pierre Nkurunziza's rule to 2034, are unnerving. According to Burundi electoral commission’s provisional results, more than 96% of the voting population cast a ballot in the referendum with 73.6% voting in favour and 19.3% voting against. 4.1% of the votes were void while 3.2% abstained.
Pierre Nkurunziza's run for an unconstitutional third term in 2015 set off a wave of violence and an attempted coup, which was foiled by government forces. The ensuing political crisis has led to hundreds of deaths and displacement of over 400,000 people, according to the United Nations.
The manipulation of elections and changing of national constitutions to serve the interests of a few people in power is common in Africa. That Burundians have to die, be incarcerated and displaced while the East Africa Community maintains a complacent posture puts to the test the ethos of the regional body. The lives of East Africans should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. An unstable Burundi will breed an unstable East Africa.