Burundi elections should be postponed until there’s stability: Zuma

The Extra Ordinary Summit of the International Conference on Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) agreed that there should be no timeframe for elections to take place in embattled Burundi‚ rather they should be postponed indefinitely to allow for stability and free and fair elections‚ the Presidency said on Tuesday.

President Jacob Zuma returned from the summit in Luanda‚ Angola‚ on Monday and described the summit as “fruitful”. It was aimed at helping to resolve the problems in the Great Lakes region.

Mr Zuma attended the conference at the invitation of his Angolan counterpart‚ Eduardo Dos Santos‚ who is also the chairman of the ICGLR.

Protests erupted in Burundi against President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in office days after he survived an attempted coup. Reuters reported on Monday that the atmosphere remained tense as soldiers were deployed in the east African nation’s capital‚ Bujumbura‚ where more than 20 people were killed in almost three weeks of unrest before last week’s failed coup.

Mr Zuma‚ who had mediated the political situation in Burundi during his time as deputy president‚ condemned the coup d’état that occurred last week.

“The summit further agreed that the postponement of elections should not have a timeframe as there was unrest in the country and the elections should be postponed indefinitely until there’s stability‚ which would allow the elections to be free and fair‚” he said in a statement issued by the Presidency.

“We have also agreed that a delegation of Heads of State from Kenya‚ Uganda‚ Tanzania and South Africa will visit Burundi in the shortest possible time to evaluate the situation and contribute to the peaceful resolution of the current situation.”

Leaders at the summit had also discussed the security situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo‚ the Central African Republic and South Sudan. Mr Zuma was accompanied by International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane.