Pierre Nkurunziza was sworn in for a third term as president of Burundi on August 20, following a deeply-flawed electoral process and his decision to run for a third term. The president called for reconciliation and an end to the increasing violence that has sent two hundred thousand of his fellow citizens fleeing to neighboring nations.
But the crisis, sparked by Nkurunziza’s decision to run for office again in violation of the Arusha Agreement that has anchored Burundi’s stability since the end of the civil war, isn’t over. The president wants Burundians to unite and those who left to return to help rebuild the nation, but the situation is volatile. His ability to effectively govern the country is in peril as Burundi struggles with the continued aftermath of a flawed election, the closure of democratic space, a rapidly declining economy and increasing violence.
The United States believes that without a government that represents the population’s many political voices and without a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue, an inauguration won’t resolve the nation’s political and security crisis.
An inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue is the only credible route to reestablish stability in Burundi and forge consensus and a peaceful path forward for its people. Such a dialogue could begin to restore democratic credibility to the country by reaffirming the Arusha Agreement, reopening press outlets, releasing political prisoners and reaching agreement on an electoral process going forward.
The United States supports the efforts of Uganda, on behalf of the East African Community, to mediate this dialogue and believes that continued attention and support from the African Union, United Nations and all states in the region will be critical to help bring Burundi back from the precipice.