Mkapa declared peace champion

Published by Daily News
On 21 November 2016 saa 01:43
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Tanzania’s efforts in championing peace talks in the war-torn countries have thrilled the European Union (EU), which has advised the East African nation to sus-tain peace restoration in the region.

Speaking at the sidelines of a meeting with editors in Dar es Salaam last week, the EU head of delegation, Mr Roeland Van De Geer, described the work by for-mer President Benjamin Mkapa who was leading peace talks between Burundi gov-ernment and a coalition of opposition par-ties to end a political crisis in the tiny East African nation as exemplary.

Burundi has been ensnared in a year-long political crisis that was triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s another new term in office, resulting into the killings of over 450 people and over 200,000 others fleeing to neighbouring countries, includ-ing Tanzania.

The envoy said President Nkurunziza has proved inflexible and unwelcoming to the European Union, African Union and even United Nations.

“But, efforts by Mr Mkapa are a total surprise,” he said, charg-ing that several attempts by international community to calm the situation in Burun-di never worked.

In his observation, he described Tanza-nia as a blessed country.

“There is need to have at least ten people of the Mkapa cali-bre to help restore peace in the politically challenged countries in the region.”

Other than Burundi, the EU is also con-cerned with the political situations in South Africa, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Zimbabwe.

But, the EU is optimistic that with on-going peace talks in the region under the tutelage of Tanzania, there were chances of restoring relations between the contesting parties, mostly the governments and the oppositions.

The dialogue between the government and opposition had flopped in Bujumbura last year, with Ugandan Yoweri Museveni failing to mediate the opposition and ruling party leaders.

President Mkapa opened the Burundi peace talks in Arusha last May, with the dialogue resulting into slowed down violence in Burundi.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon acknowledged Mr Mkapa’s initiated peace talks in Burundi, welcoming the move and encouraging the former head of state to sustain his efforts to attain peace.

“A solution to the political crisis that has lasted for a year can only be found through a genuinely inclusive dialogue process based on the Constitution of Burundi and the principles of the Arusha Agreement signed in 2000, “said the UN statement.

The UN secretary general “fully supports the efforts of the region for a peaceful resolution to the crisis” and said that the UN is ready to provide “technical support and relevant expertise.”