Burundi Ruling Party Officials Ask President To Drop Third Term Quest

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the opening of a coffee conference in the capital Bujumbura February 13, 2014.
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza attends the opening of a coffee conference in the capital Bujumbura February 13, 2014.

Dozens of senior officials in Burundi’s ruling party have urged the President Pierre Nkurunziza to abandon a quest for a third term this June in order to avoid renewed violence in the landlocked central African nation. Reuters report:

Some 79 members of the CNDD-FDD Party wrote to Nkurunziza on Monday, a spokesman for the group said on Thursday, joining a rising chorus of critics saying he cannot run again under the terms of a 2000 deal to end years of fighting between Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

The party responded by sacking 10 initial signatories, including Nkurunziza’s spokesman, the party’s spokesman, three members of parliament and a provincial governor, newly-appointed CNDD-FDD spokesman Gelase Ndabirabe said.

“The issue about a third term for the current president continues to raise tension and divide the Burundian people,” Festus Ntanyungu, a lawmaker who spoke on behalf of 79 senior officials of Hutu CNDD-FDD, told Reuters. “For the sake of peace and to avoid violence, we asked … Nkurunziza to drop any attempt for another third term.” Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete said last week on a visit to Burundi that violating the legal limit on the president’s term would spark violence that would be hard to stop.

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