As the Burundi peace talks come to climax here, some members of the minority groups from the tiny East African nation have emerged, demanding an audience.
Speaking on behalf of ‘Baswahili group,’ the Kiswahili speakers in Bujumbura, Mr Mugunwe Anzoweeni, demanded the inclusion of the marginalised group, which he said has been sidelined from the talks that envisage a mutual agreement by June, this year.
“We were snubbed even in the original Arusha Peace Accord, which singled out only the Tutsi and Hutu groups as if these are the only tribes in Burundi... we have other smaller tribes as well as people of Asian origin,” he said.
Last week, the police arrested three suspected Burundians here over their alleged attempts to thwart the ongoing Burundi peace talks under former President Benjamin Mkapa’s mediation.
Mr Mkapa in his capacity as the facilitator of the talks at the Arusha International Conference Centre is still convening the dialogue following consultations with other stakeholders within and outside the country.
Initially, eight-point agenda was identified, with parties adopting them as the key sticking points way back in September 2016.
The eight-point agenda, then formed the thrust of the dialogue and subsequent negotiations, including security and commitment to end all forms of violence, commitment to the rule of law and to end impunity.
Mr Mkapa, the talk facilitator, had invited some of the political parties as well as important political actors to convene in the eight-point agenda to determine areas, which can bring lasting ‘peace’ in the country.
He said stakeholders like the civil society organisations, religious groups as well as women and youth will be invited to later sessions.
The facilitator said inputs from participants will draw up an outline of the would-be agreement to be gradually refined until it’s fully agreed by all stakeholders and signed as the final agreement in June, 2017.