We, members of the Pan African Movement-East Africa together with the Global Pan African Movement make this call to the citizens of East Africa, all peace loving Africans globally and concerned citizens of the world to join together in this petition to mobilize our resources and empower our voices to demand immediate action to halt the deteriorating conditions in Burundi. There is an ongoing loss of life and a general disruption and breakdown of law, social cohesion and personal security fuelling the fears of a possible reemergence of ethno-political violence and genocide in the Great Lakes region. The situation threatens to undermine all efforts to establish regional stability and peace.
We take note with alarm and with grave concern call to the attention of African Union, East African Community, the East African Legislative Assembly, The Global Pan African Movement and the Government of Burundi to the following; In Burundi:
1. Since April 2015 Political assassinations and attempted assassinations are happening weekly and more than 400 citizens have been murdered and their bodies dumped on the streets
2. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries because of insecurity directly caused by political manoeuvres
3. The government headed by President Pierre Nkurunziza is complicit in creating the conditions that have resulted in politically motivated extra-judicial killings.
4. Politicians are inciting the citizenry to violence, using hate speech provoking xenophobic fears
We point out that support given by the ordinary citizens and governments of Africa for the peace process, conflict resolution and reconciliation efforts in Burundi has been immeasurable in terms of material, political, financial and moral contribution for decades!
Now African small farmers and impoverished under resourced villages and municipalities are once again having thrust upon them the burden of providing security, shelter and sustenance for ordinary Burundian people who are forced to flee as refugees once again. They are fleeing violence and insecurity perpetrated by the political class. This situation exists as direct consequence of an ill-advised, short-sighted political manoeuvre.
This widely unpopular decision by President Nkurunziza of Burundi to impose himself on the people of Burundi for a third term in office is a betrayal of the spirit and the letter of the ‘Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi’ and the constitution of Burundi. And therefore accountable for the costs in human lives, destruction of property, increased insecurity, support for refugees and conflict resolution
We, Pan Africanists and citizens of East Africa view President Nkurunziza’s actions as an affront to the peoples and governments of East and Central Africa. His action and unilateral reinterpretation of the Peace agreement is an insult to the work, and legacies of Presidents Julius K. Nyerere and Nelson R. Mandela, both of whom worked tirelessly in the twilight of their lives, despite declining health to bring about a ceasefire, a political solution to the civil war and peace among the people of Burundi. The action of the government of Burundi is an affront to that work and the efforts of the African Union and the East African Community. Most importantly, this self-serving political chicanery is an offense to the democratic aspirations of the women, children and men of Burundi and all of the people of East Africa!
We wish to make known to the Government of Burundi, The African Union, The East African legislative Assembly and the Heads of State of the East African Community our grave concerns concerning the deteriorating situation and express our heavy disappointment with the political class and leadership that has created these destructive conditions or that has not adequately responded to it.
As Africans who believe in and support African solutions to African problems, and guided by the Pan African spirit of “Afrika Moja, Afrika Huru” (One Africa, Free Africa) we stand in solidarity and empathy with the innocent victims caught up in this totally unnecessary and anachronistic power struggle within the political class. We urge President Pierre Nkurunziza, to look beyond transitory, short term political aspirations; move in haste and do what is in the best interest of Burundian society to put the reconciliation process back on track after too many years of war and too many people killed!
As citizens of Africa we implore the Government of Burundi, The African Union and the East African Legislative Assembly and the East African Heads of States to take all the necessary steps to stop the ongoing extra-judicial killings, restore social cohesion and to facilitate the safe return of refugee to their homes.
It is in the interest of Burundi and its people and in the interest of the people of East Africa that we as Citizens of the African Union together with all peace loving Africans globally and concerned citizens of the world in solidarity with the people of Burundi that we formally lodge this petition and call upon and insist that:
1. The Government of Burundi take immediate steps to stop police brutality, torture, arbitrary arrest and extra judicial killings and arrest and charge the perpetrators of these crimes.
2. All Burundian Politicians, journalist and media commentators cease using hate speech and inciting factionalism and xenophobic violence along ethnic lines.
3. The African Union Commission takes an active role and urgently convenes an Extra-Ordinary Meeting to discuss the Burundi situation.
4. The East African Community and the East African Legislative Assembly be more actively involved in resolving the impasse, and the neighbouring countries continue to support and offer sanctuary fleeing refugees.
5. The Global Pan African Movement, through its East Africa national chapters, mobilizes members, civil society, religious institutions, the general public and regional governments in a solidarity peace and unity campaign.
28 December 2015