Kagame speaks out on Burundi political crisis

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Nkurunziza is under pressure to follow the people’s wishes as exemplified by the protests in Burundi. (Net)

For the situation in Burundi to calm down, the country’s leaders must do more to stop the movement of refugees.

The remarks were made by President Paul Kagame, yesterday, during a conversation with China Central TV special contributor, James Chau, at the 45th St Gallen Symposium in Switzerland.

Rwanda is currently hosting more than 24,000 refugees who have fled Burundi following violent protests that erupted after the incumbent President, Pierre Nkurunziza, was nominated to run for a third term in office.

The President pointed out that the bigger issue that has led to the crisis is not entirely about presidential terms but rather what the leader has delivered for his people.

“It is not just about the president looking for a third term. That is just one problem among many,” President Kagame said.

“If your own citizens are telling you we don’t want you to do this or to lead us, it is because they are saying you are not delivering much to us. So how do you say I am staying anyway whether you want me or not?  This is a serious problem.”

The elections are scheduled for June 26.

Protesters argue that Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term is a violation of the constitution as well as the 2000 Arusha peace deal that ended a protracted civil war.

President Kagame is due to meet with his East African Community counterparts in Tanzania, next week, to forge a way of calming the growing political tension in Burundi.

In addition to ordinary Burundian citizens, high profile refugees including politicians, lawmakers and judges have fled to Rwanda for safety.

“We will welcome the refugees, we will do the best we can, working with the UNHCR, with other countries and the region. The issue is not how well you take care of refugees. The issue is how we stop producing refugees,” President Kagame said.

Seventeen people have so far been killed in the protests.