The latest developments in Burundi, in which the military announced the â€œdismissalâ€ of the President, are unfortunate and regrettable although they have not come as a surprise, given the events of recent months.
With this move, Burundi has lost an historic opportunity to strengthen its democracy by establishing a tradition of peaceful transfer of power. The East Africa Community and the African Union have also failed to demonstrate that they are in tune with the changing times on the Continent, in which the people are not willing to be taken back to the old order in which constitutions counted for nothing.
However, acquisition of power by means other than democratic elections should no longer have any place in Africa. Military intervention, even if caused by a leadership adamant on overthrowing the constitution, will not solve the problems of Burundi and may only worsen the situation.
Given Burundiâ€™s history of ethnic divisions, it is likely that the military intervention will widen the sectarian divide.
I expect the East Africa Community leaders meeting in Tanzania to come up with a clear road map for Burundiâ€™s return to the path of constitutionalism and democratic elections, including a categorical statement that President Pierre Nkurunziza is not eligible to run.
The international community must support the right of the people of Burundi to peaceful pursuit of their democratic rights and freedomsb Authorities in Burundi and the region must ensure respect for the right of all peaceful political parties and their candidates to campaign, hold meetings and rallies, and express their views. They must also ensure respect of the right of the media to report freely on the electoral process and campaigns.
We must enforce an acceptance and respect of carrying out peaceful and credible elections in Burundi within the shortest time possible. The leaders of the region and the continent must recognize that times have changed.