Idris Deby backs Nkurunziza, says Burundi crisis stoked by foreigners

Chadian president Idris Deby and Burundian PierreNkurunziza

Chadian president Idris Deby maintains that the third term mandate of his Burundian counterpart, Pierre Nkurunziza, is legitimate and that the crisis that has bedeviled the country is as a result of interference of foreign powers.

Deby who is on an official visit to Germany, spoke to German broadcaster, Deutsche Welle. He explained that Nkurunziza’s first term as president was not through the ballot box but rather an appointment by members of the legislature.

Nkurunziza elected to office by an electoral college on 19 August 2005. He was reelected through the ballot box in 2010 in an election that was boycotted by majority of opposition parties. He was sworn in for a second term on 26 August 2016.

Deby, who is current chairman of the African Union, believes that by the fact that Nkurunziza has served only a term through the ballot box – i.e. between 2005 – 2010 – he still had the right to stand as a candidate in the last elections.

Burundi was plunged into crisis since Mr. Nkurunziza announced his candidacy in April 2015 for a third term, he subsequently won reelection and was sworn in despite deadly protests across the country. The violence has claimed more than 500 lives and forced more than 270,000 people to leave the country.

The parliament in a landslide vote accented to the decision by the government to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). The move came barely a month after the ICC prosecutor said her office was looking into human rights violations in the country.

The government also severed cooperation with the United Nations human rights outfit and also threw out three investigators earlier this week. The UN recently published a report which accused the government of human rights violations.

The government also accused the UN of bias and called the investigators politically motivated. Hundreds of protesters later marched along the streets of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura denouncing the UN report.

European nations and the United States have led efforts to put pressure on the country with aid cuts. The EU advised that it will resume funding if the government frees up the media, deals with rights abuses and launches genuine peace talks.