Aug 09, 2004

Batwa: Batwa to be included in the New National Assembly

About 29 Burundi opposition political parties have agreed to implement a refined power-sharing deal and holding elections
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About 29 Burundi opposition political parties have agreed to implement a refined power-sharing deal and holding elections.

The agreement put to a halt long-running Pretoria-brokered talks to bring peace in the conflict-ridden central African country that saw more than 300 000 of its citizen killed in tit-for-tat ethnic clashes that also devastated the country's economy and infrastructure.

According to the deal, the National Assembly will be constituted of 60 percent Hutu Deputies, 40 percent Tutsi Deputies, and three Deputies from the BaTwa group, with a minimum of 30 percent of the whole being women.

At least 19 parties penned down their names on the dotted line with only 10 parties refusing to put down their signatures in a move mediators say will not prevent Burundi from a march towards a new dawn.

However, the CNDD-FDD party that is seen to be the only serious major party with a realistic chance of winning the forthcoming elections did not attend the talks due to its conference currently.

The latest talks put flesh to the Arusha Accord, hammered out almost four years ago by warring factions in Burundi, which later brought former mediator and SA's ex President Nelson Mandela into the picture, bringing the parties together before passing the baton over to Deputy President Jacob Zuma.

The Arusha Declaration stipulates that as part of the efforts to bring peace in Burundi, the Tutsi leader President Pierre Buyoya should rule for a period of 18 months and then hand over power to Mr Domitien Ndayizeye, a Hutu, who in turn will rule for the same period.

The latter is currently ruling the country still struggling to find a last political direction in line with the African Union's new strategic vision of a continent free of conflicts.

At the Pretoria talks, which were facilitate by Mr Zuma and President Thabo Mbeki, the parties also agreed to that 30 percent of women represent government structures.

Mr Zuma's office affirmed that the groups had agreed to the establishment and entrenchment of a democratic system of government.

This by including minority political parties in the post-transition administration as well as protecting the ethnic, cultural and religious minorities and the structuring of the national security and justice system to guarantee the safety and security of all Barundi.

Mr Zuma said the parties had vowed to "undertake all the urgent tasks that are necessary to ensure a smooth and speedy transition in Burundi". -

Source: allAfrica