New Burundian Government faces challenge of high voter expectation says UN official

“The first 100 days of this Government are going to be the real test of the credibility of the new Government in Burundi,” the Principal Deputy Special Representative for Burundi, Nureldin Satti, told journalists in New York, referring to newly elected President Pierre Nkurunziza and his National Council for the Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), a Hutu-dominated group. The people’s expectations included expanding their livelihoods, conducting a successful economic recovery, improving the standards of living and reducing poverty and unemployment, he said after speaking to the Security Council in closed session.Many of the wars in recent Burundian history were caused by the growth of unemployment, making unemployed youth vulnerable to calls for armed rebellion, Mr. Satti said, and the social and political strife that had engulfed the country for the past four decades entailed consequences.Meanwhile, many Burundians have been accused of crimes against humanity, genocide and other serious crimes, but no one had gone to jail, he said. He added that the Arusha peace agreement had stipulated that ending immunity and establishing a truth and reconciliation process should go hand-in-hand. Linked to those issues were law and order, democracy, respect for human rights, and finalizing the integration of former rebels into the army and the police force. Mr. Nkurunziza, Burundi’s first democratically-elected President since the start of the civil war in 1993, was sworn in on 26 August and had chosen two vice-presidents yesterday, one from a Tutsi party and the other from CNDD-FDD, while consultations were taking place to form his cabinet today or tomorrow, Mr. Satti said.Having played a major role in helping along Burundi’s peace process, the international community should remain committed to aiding the country, he said. For that reason, consultations were under way between the Government of Burundi, the UN and other international institutions on putting in place a follow-up mechanism to assist the country in tackling its main challenges. In addition, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan would chair a mini-summit on Burundi on 13 September to finalize a mechanism to suceed the Arusha Agreement Implemntation Monitoring Committee, Mr. Satti said. read more