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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Tuesday 4 May 2004

BURUNDI: Government accedes to ex-rebel movement's demands

BUJUMBURA, 4 May 2004 (IRIN) - The transitional government of Burundi is ready to meet the demands made by the former main rebel movement in the country, the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD), a government official announced on Tuesday.

The presidential spokesman, Pancrace Cimpaye, said the government would address all "grievances" of the CNDD-FDD within a week.

Cimpaye's announcement follows the CNDD-FDD's move on Monday to suspend its participation in the government and the National Assembly to protest what it said were delays in the implementation of a ceasefire and power sharing accord it signed on 16 November 2003.

Cimpaye said CNDD-FDD made the announcement as the government was "getting everything ready" to honour its pledges under the accord.

He said the delays in the implementation of the accord was due to difficulties the government had encountered in the management of the transitional period.

Announcing the former rebel movement's move on Monday, CNDD-FDD secretary-general Hussein Radjabu said its ministers would no longer participate in cabinet meetings and that its representatives in the National Assembly had, from last week, began a boycott of the activities of the House.

The 15 CNDD-FDD members of Parliament boycotted the National Assembly following the entry of 13 retired officers into the parliament and the election of two deputy secretary-generals in the assembly's bureau, bringing the number of officials at the bureau to eight instead of the six stipulated in the accord.

Radjabu said the CNDD-FDD would withdraw from the Cabinet and the National Assembly by Saturday, if two main political parties in the country, the Front pour la democratic au Burundi (FRODEBU) and the Union pour le progress National (UPRONA) "do not change their attitude".

The CNDD-FDD accused the two parties of excluding it in the management of the country's political affairs.

After the signing of the power sharing accord between the government and the CNDD-FDD, four ministers from the movement, including its leader Pierre Nkurunziza, joined the transitional government and were appointed to various ministerial positions. Nkurunziza was named minister of state in charge of good governance. The ministries of the interior, communication and public works went to the other three CNDD-FDD members.

Under the power sharing accord, the CNDD-FDD is allowed to appoint two ambassadors, three governors, 30 administrators and to occupy 20 percent of the posts in the public administration.

"However, the CNDD-FDD has waited six months for those appointments, this is proof of our goodwill," Radjabu said.

So far, only one CNDD-FDD member has been appointed to the post of general manager of the Burundi Textile Company (Cotebu).

Radjabu said the suspension of the movement's activities in parliament and government would not affect the country's security situation.

"The measure taken does not imply that we are taking up the arms again," he said.

He called on the former CNDD-FDD combatants and government forces to continue their collaboration to ensure security across the country.

Security in the country improved greatly after the signing of the power sharing accord between the government and the CNDD-FDD, except in the capital, Bujumbura, and in the province of Bujumbura Rural, where the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) remains active. The FNL is the only rebel group in the country that has refused to sign a ceasefire agreement with the government.

Meanwhile, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a resolution on Monday, welcoming recommendations of its Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Burundi.

In a statement, ECOSOC reported that it had adopted the advisory group's recommendations to follow closely the humanitarian and economical and social conditions in Burundi; to examine the transition from relief to development and the way in which the international community supported the process.


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