The Democratic Alliance (DA) welcomes the deployment of a high-level African Union (AU) delegation, at the behest of the AU Peace and Security Council, “to help defuse the situation in Burundi.”
This follows the lethal state sanctioned violence and unrest ahead of the country’s elections, planned to take place in May 2015.
The DA further welcomes the United Nation’s decision to deploy an envoy to Burundi.
Earlier this month, I submitted written questions to Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and wrote to both her and the the AU Commission Chairperson, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, seeking clarity on whether the AU and the South African government will be providing assistance to Burundi.
To date, the Minister has neither responded to my letter nor has she publically indicated that the South African government will be mediating or intervening in Burundi.
Burundi has been hit by a wave of protests opposing President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to seek election for a third term. A third term is in direct contravention of the country’s constitution, Electoral Law and the 2000 Arusha Agreement. The only viable solution is for the people of Burundi’s legitimate calls to be answered and for the restoration of the country’s democratic order.
The DA condemns in the gest terms the suppression of freedom of speech through the suspension of social media networks and the reported suppression of the opposition parties.
South Africa simply cannot support the undemocratic installation of a government in Burundi. Going against the will of the people and using lethal force to secure an election victory is illegitimate and undemocratic.
When human lives are sacrificed and violence takes precedence over peace and democracy, the AU and South Africa have a duty to step in and mediate on behalf of the people of Burundi who are demanding only what is just and democratic.
I will continue to appeal to Minister Nkoana-Mashabane to ensure that peace and democracy prevail in Burundi.
Africa can only be at peace when all her people can experience stability and security, backed by free and fair elections.
Shadow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation
Source : Democratic Alliance