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Cablegate: Former Burundi National Assembly Leader Spreads

VZCZCXRO2264
PP RUEHGI RUEHRN
DE RUEHJB #0575 2281553
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 161553Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0490
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS BUJUMBURA 000575

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL BY
SUBJECT: FORMER BURUNDI NATIONAL ASSEMBLY LEADER SPREADS
BLAME FOR POLITICAL IMPASSE


1. (SBU) In a meeting with the embassy on August 7, National
Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense
of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party member and former First Vice
President of the National Assembly Onesime Nduwimana summed
up his perceptions of Burundi's political morass by stating
that the key players are only acting in their interests for
the next round of elections in 2010. Nduwimana characterized
the stalemate as primarily a constitutional tug-of-war within
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza's government and
described the National Assembly as the battlefield.
Nduwimana, the former Minister of Communications during
Burundi's transitional period, claimed that each political
party is interpreting Burundi's constitution as meets their
political interests. In particular, Nduwimana referred to
the constitutional clause that affords the right of political
parties to participate in the government, if they desire,
provided they've received five percent of the vote in the
2005 elections.

2. (SBU) Nduwimana, the CEO of a Burundian insurance
company, further elaborated on the political quagmire by
explaining that the major opposition parties, the Front for
Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) and Union for National
Progress (UPRONA), are exploiting a perceived split in the
ruling CNDD-FDD party and its inability to form a majority
voting block in the National Assembly to pass legislation.
On the contrary, stated Nduwimana, the CNDD-FDD party is only
15 members short of the necessary two-thirds majority but has
the support of other party members of the National Assembly.
Nduwimana strengthened his argument by claiming that the
members of FRODEBU are split in their allegiance to the own
party and to the CNDD-FDD.

3. (SBU) Nduwimana, who does not consider himself to be a
key player in CNDD-FDD party politics, expressed that he did
not think dialogue alone would be sufficient to stem the
political instability. He emphasized that President
Nkurunziza also needs to take substantive action to avoid
further blockage of political and economic progress. But
Nduwimana, parroting a sentiment expressed to the embassy by
others, suggested that President Nkurunziza is being
counseled by 'unknown' advisors which may be preventing the
President from addressing the political impasse. When asked
for specific names, Nduwimana did not offer a response;
however, as did other embassy visitors, Nduwimana hinted that
the advisors may be associated with the military wing of the
CNDD-FDD party. He asserted that these advisors are barriers
between Nkurunziza and anyone who is able to provide an
'educated' viewpoint of the political situation.

4. (SBU) Comment: Nduwimana, who is among the most
influential civilian members of the CNDD-FDD party, offered a
balanced and objective perspective of the political tangle,
portioning blame to both his own party's government and the
opposition factions. In that respect, Nduwimana has the
potential to be an objective voice in persuading Nkurunziza
to become more pro-active in alleviating the political
stalemate threatening the stability of the nation. Instead,
Nduwimana, a former high-ranking member of National Assembly
and now a successful business man, is clearly hesitant to use
his prestige to influence party politics or to personally
offer a strategy for progress to President Nkurunziza.
Unfortunately, while Nkurunziza's attention is being
dominated by his military advisors, it will be difficult to
identify objective individuals who are genuinely concerned
for the welfare of Burundi's people and still able to bend
the President's ear. End Comment.
MOLLER

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