Hopes grow for election in Burundi

Five Tutsi political parties dropped their opposition to Burundi's draft constitution yesterday, easing the way for the election of a new government that could help end years of ethnic violence.

Five Tutsi political parties dropped their opposition to Burundi's draft constitution yesterday, easing the way for the election of a new government that could help end years of ethnic violence.

The constitution will set up a new power-sharing arrangement between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis. It is due to go to a referendum by November 26.

But six Tutsi parties continue to complain that the draft placed too much power in the hands of the Hutus and boycotted Burundi's parliament when it met on October 20 to endorse it.

"We have taken this decision to give peace a chance," said Joseph Nzeyimana, the leader of the Democratic Rally for Economic and Social Development party.

He said the five parties would try to amend certain sections of the draft they consider to be unfair to the Tutsis in parliament before the referendum. He added: "We will accept the constitution to enable the president of the republic to bring it to a popular debate.

"If the public agrees with our views, we recommend this to be taken as amendments in the constitution before it is taken to a referendum."

The government hopes the new constitution will help to end fighting between the politically dominant Tutsis and Hutus that has killed 300,000 people in the last decade.

The draft also extends the life of President Domitien Ndayizeye's transitional government until elections take place in the first half of 2005.

Analysts said the move was a boost for peace, but added that any solution to the standoff would depend on the main Tutsi party, Uprona, which led the opposition to the interim constitution. It has yet to change its position.

The Tutsi parties want the presidency to be rotated every five years between a Tutsi and a Hutu, with the president and his deputy "co-managing" the country.

But the government says it cannot support a constitution which favours one political group above another.

Patrick Nduwimana in Bujumbura

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Fears grow in Burundi as executions and desertions undermine army
Murder of senior officers and secret defections weaken security forces that once symbolised national unity, heightening prospect of civil conflict

Emma Graham-Harrison

29, Apr, 2016 @6:00 AM

Article image
Burundi ruling party candidate wins election amid rigging claims
Evariste Ndayishimiye is declared winner with 69% of vote

Jason Burke Africa correspondent

25, May, 2020 @4:34 PM

Article image
Burundi mine clearance
Burundi is making a brave attempt to become the world’s first mine-effected country to be declared mine free

25, Apr, 2008 @2:24 PM

Article image
Burundi refugees say there is no turning back as fears grow of reprisals at home
Thousands of refugees who fled to Rwanda are resigned to long stay amid concerns that violence in Burundi could reignite tensions of civil war era

Katherine Sullivan, in Bugesera

19, May, 2015 @11:53 AM

Article image
Burundi: Africa's forgotten war
As the world remembers Rwanda's genocide 10 years on, an equally disturbing but far less reported conflict continues south of its borders, says Marcus Prior.

Marcus Prior

23, Apr, 2004 @12:29 PM

Article image
Burundi goes to the polls in disputed election after night of violence
President Pierre Nkurunziza casually casts his vote as he bids for a third term in office, while opposition candidates boycott ballot

Jessica Hatcher in Ngozi

21, Jul, 2015 @6:34 PM

Children flee to Burundi camps
Six hundred Rwandan children are camping in a huge warehouse in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, after fleeing the southern Rwandan town of Butare.

Lindsey Hilsum in Bujumbura

05, Jul, 1994 @11:06 AM

Burundi rebels quit power deal
Burundi's largest rebel group quit the transitional government yesterday, threatening a peace process designed to end 10 years of civil war.

Andrew Meldrum

04, May, 2004 @1:10 AM

Burundi Hutu rebels 'kidnap children'
Hutu rebels in Burundi kidnapped more than 50 children and their four teachers from a primary school in Ruyigi province, in the east, the army said yesterday.

Maria Eismont in Bujumbura and agencies

08, Nov, 2001 @3:15 AM

Burundi army clashes with rebels
Renewed fighting between the Burundi army and Hutu rebels has forced thousands of civilians to flee their homes in the hills near the capital, Bujumbura.

Andrew Meldrum in Pretoria

10, Apr, 2004 @1:28 AM