Analysis

President Idriss Deby moves to legitimize Nkurunziza

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Staff Writer

Recently, Chad leader and head of African Union made a statement which was seen as efforts to legitimize his fellow strongman, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi.

Deby was heard recently voicing up unpopular opinion explaining the root cause of Burundi conflict which angered many Burundi opposition members and human rights defenders in the country.

According to President Deby, the constitution says the president must be elected for two terms by universal suffrage. The first term of President Pierre Nkurunziza was not by universal suffrage, he was simply designated. The second term is constitutional and universal, so it’s a popular vote. It is all about the exploitation of that part of the constitution.

For some, they say he has done two terms. Yes, in fact he served two terms, a constitutional term and a term outside the constitution.

This statement of the Chadian and AU President, Idriss Itno Deby, continues to raise more reactions. For him, the Burundian crisis came from outside.

“The United Nations, the United States, the countries intervened early to say yes; he has served two constitutional terms. The tension came from there. Tensions, crises in Africa often come from outside Africa rather than inside. If Burundians had simply been let themselves solve their problems on the basis of their constitution, the situation wouldn’t have gone this far. “

The Chadian president on an official visit to Germany last week spoke about Burundi on the airwaves of Radio Deutsche Welle.

The Union of Presidents

The position of Idriss Deby is that of an African Head of State who holds on to terms more than that of the Chairman of the African Union. With his umpteenth term in office now as a head of state, it is normal that he supports an African brother who has the same ambitions for the good of his country.

There is honor among thieves, says the old adage. Yet, the fact is that most African presidents who make up the great family of the AU have the same claims and, in this case, Deby said out loud what his colleagues are thinking. Can’t the AU be referred to as “A club of heads of state for life?”

This statement by Deby was also an opportunity for him to implicitly get even with “the international community”. The successor to Hussein Habré is also not on good terms with this community on several issues of governance.

A grievance, which he shares with other AU heavyweights towards the community for which democracy means change-over of power but democracy seems to take another twist in Africa.

Chad’s Deby contrasts with that of the AU Commission and the Council of Peace and Security of the AU that insist on dialogue between the government and the opposition to resolve the Burundian crisis which was born from the desire of President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for another term, claims the opposition.

In 2015, a report of legal experts commissioned by AU had concluded that the third term of Pierre Nkurunziza was unconstitutional.

In its 631st meeting, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union, held on 6 October 2016, emphasized on that dialogue.

“The PSC reiterates the urgent need for a quick resumption of the inter-Burundian dialogue under the auspices of the Community of East African States as the only practical way forward to resolve the crisis in the country.

In this regard, the Council reiterates the need for a consensual approach between all the Burundian parties to address and resolve issues related to the situation in the country, and in so doing, to uphold the Constitution and the Arusha Peace Agreement and Reconciliation of August 2000.

“…A dialogue that even President Deby has supported early during his early presidency as the head of the AU, We gave a chance to Burundi and President Pierre Nkurunziza to solve this crisis. We would like this to be resolved through dialogue with an initiative of the Burundian president. We are also monitoring the situation closely. We cannot accept that the situation escalates. At this point, the African Union would intervene militarily, “he said in an interview with Jeune Afrique in January 2016.

Some observers think Deby shares a conception that is quite distant from that of members of this club who, for reasons of their own, think they are best placed to preside over the destiny of their country.

Some experts say, Idriss Deby has taken a position contrary to that of the AU Commission and Peace and Security Council-PSC, which demonstrates once again the malfunctioning of that organization.

In principle, it is the Commission that proposes to Heads of State the recommendations to be made. Nonetheless, the latter come forth to often contradict the individual position of each head of state in office who seeks to rule for the umpteenth time. They took the model of the European Union commission which fulfills its mission without the Heads of State involved in a democratic spirit, which is often lacking in Africa.

 

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