Central African Politics Under Watch

July 11 - Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo have come under scrutiny by international bodies who caution that undemocratic practices in the Central African countries may lead to instability or violence.

Burundi

The United Nations Security Council Thursday was told in a briefing that the desire of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term is causing instability as that country nears its upcoming presidential elections. The elections have been postponed from an original date of July 15 to July 21 because of the security situation.

“The grave danger the country faces should not be underestimated, given the increasing polarization and the apparent choice of Burundian leaders to put personal interest before those of the country,” UN Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Taye-Brook Zerihoun told the Security Council.

Zerihoun said the UN Election Observation Mission (MENUB) in Burundi reported in recent local elections peaceful protests were met with unwarranted force and that non-violent demonstrators were arrested.

“In view of its findings, MENUB concluded that the environment was not conducive for free, credible and inclusive elections," Zerihoun told the Security Council. "The African Union, the Eastern African Community, and the International Conference on Great Lakes Region expressed similar concerns.”

Democratic Republic of Congo

The European Union Parliament Thursday passed a resolution calling for the release of political prisoners in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Specifically the EU called for opposition leaders Yves Makwambala and Fred Bauma and an end to interference with the political activities of members of the Filimbi youth movement.

The DRC is the largest copper and tin producer in Africa and also exports significant amounts of coltan for the electronics industry. The country holds presidential elections next year, and President Joseph Kabila's second and final, under DRC's constitution, will end.

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