Prospects of Elections and Instruments to ensure a viable Post-Election Political Environment in Burundi as stipulated in the Arusha Agreement and Pretoria Agreement by the end of October 2004




DATE: 19 AUGUST 2004

Mr D J Sithole (ANC) to ask the Deputy President:

(1) With reference to the recent negotiations on peace in Burundi, (a) what are the prospects of the elections in that country being held by the end of October 2004 as stipulated in the Arusha Agreement and Pretoria Agreement and (b) what instruments are envisaged to ensure a viable post-election political environment in Burundi;

(2) Whether South Africa's participation in Burundi has enhanced our standing as a peacemaker on the Continent; if so, what are the relevant details?


1. (a) I am still optimistic that elections in Burundi can be held by the end of October 2004. On 6 August 2004 about twenty political parties including the Transitional Government of Burundi concluded a Power Sharing Agreement in Pretoria. During that process they also committed themselves to holding the elections in terms of the stipulations of the Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement of 28 August 2000, which put the date for the elections at the end of October 2004. This agreement was endorsed by the Summit of the Great Lakes Regional Peace initiative on Burundi which met in Tanzania yesterday. The Summit also called on the Transitional Government of Burundi to ensure that the Independent Electoral Commission is in place by the 29th of August. The newly formed Electoral Commission, is the only body that will be in a position to assess the practicalities of holding the elections and advise whether any changes need to be made. We are guided by the Arusha Agreement which sets the transitional period at three years. We also need to ensure that all that we do contributes to the attainment of peace and stability in Burundi.
(b)The instruments envisaged to ensuring a viable post-election environment would be enshrined in the post-transition constitution in terms of the principles stipulated in the Arusha Agreement and other legal principles as may be agreed by the Barundians themselves as they deem necessary. Among other things the Constitution will include:
· a Charter of the Basic Rights and Duties of the Individual and Citizen
· the opening up of all political parties to all Barundi
· that the candidates' lists presented by political parties should reflect an inclusive multi-ethnic character
· that the Senate will be constituted on a 50/50 basis

2. I believe that South Africa has made a significant contribution to peace in Burundi through its protection of the Burundi returning exiles; its participation in the African Union Mission in Burundi as a key force and its role in facilitating negotiations between the various parties.


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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa