Situation in Burundi "disconcerting" just nine months away from 2015 elections

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Parfait Onanga-Anyanga. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The socio-political situation in Burundi is disconcerting just nine months away from the 2015 elections, according to the top United Nations envoy in the country.

Parfait Onanga-Anyanga told the Security Council during his briefing on Wednesday that there have been attempts to improve the situation.

They included calls made by President Pierre Nkurunziza to his closest advisers to ensure authorized parties can freely undertake their activities throughout the country.

There have also been concerns about recent unlawful acts perpetrated by youth affiliated to his party.

He said these steps are welcomed and must be sustained in order to have a lasting positive impact and help create a conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections in 2015.

"The socio-political situation in Burundi remains characterized by deep-rooted divergences and persisting mistrust between the government and opposition parties, and between and within opposition formations as well. There is a lack of genuine political dialogue on major national issues; and the effect of a number of restrictive laws on freedoms of expression and assembly is still a source of controversy and concern, which is disconcerting just nine months away from the 2015 elections." (29)

On a positive note, Mr. Onanga-Anyanga said there is room for optimism since on 1 July President Nkurunziza declared that the 2015 elections would be the best the country has ever organized.

Moreover, the envoy added, opposition parties remain resolute to stay politically engaged and not boycott the 2015 elections.

Derrick Mbatha, United Nations.

Duration: 1’51″

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