Uganda Political Observers Fear Burundi Crises Could Spiral Into Regional Woes

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Power hungry Burundi's Nkuruziza--could he spark regional killings?

Joseph Ochieno, a member of the Uganda People's Congress party (UPC) political party who's based in the United Kingdom says the failure of African Union presidents to intervene in Burundi’s growing political unrest could lead to ethnic genocide there.

Burundi has had a long history of massacres pitting ethnic majority Hutus against the Tutsis who in the past had dominated government and security forces.

A peace deal brokered by South Africa halted the last round of killings and ushered elections. Pierre Nkurunziza faces protest as he seeks a third term. He says the first term he served was based on election by Parliament, not popular votes, and shouldn't count as part of the two-term limit.

Protestors disagree.

Ochieno who was featured on a television talks show “The Fourth Estate”  on NTV on Sunday May 3rd,  said Burundi’s political storm could have been avoided if president Nkurunziza heeded the peace deal which had so far brought normalcy to the war-torn country.

The Ugandan politician notes that disrespect for presidential term limits in the Great Lakes region are on the increase, citing cases in point, such as DR Congo and Rwanda, where no effort is being spared to retain the ruling presidents, Joseph Kabila and Gen. Paul Kagame, respectively, at whatever cost.

We Ugandans have to worry, because our situation is not any different," he cautioned, noting that Uganda votes for president next year. Incumbent President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 29 years. He faces growing resistance even from within his NRM political party to his continued rule and last year ousted his prime minister Amama Mbabazi, a potential competitor.

"As conflict is brewing in the region because of the African problem of leaders coming to office and failing to leave as if there is no job outside the president’s office,"” Ochieno added.

Chris Obore a Ugandan journalist who is a regular panelist on the show also condemned some African leaders, saying their quest for political power exceeds all other considerations; that is why they remain tied lipped, and never intervene, whenever their compatriots mess up their own country’s hopes and aspirations.

Obore warned that with ethnic combustibility similar to neighboring Rwanda's, Burundi could quickly slip into an explosive conflict of genocidal proportion while the world and neighbors look on.

The Burundi problem is part of the African political management tragedy, of their manipulating constitutions, like president Nkurunziza," he said, adding that the rule is " abrogating the Burundi constitution by accepting the removal of the two term limit under the pretext that the ruling party sanctioned it.."



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