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Cablegate: Burundi's Government Takes Their Message On The

VZCZCXRO4890
PP RUEHGI RUEHRN
DE RUEHJB #0584 2321658
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 201658Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0497
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC

UNCLAS BUJUMBURA 000584

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPT FOR AF/C

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PINR PREL BY
SUBJECT: BURUNDI'S GOVERNMENT TAKES THEIR MESSAGE ON THE
ROAD


1. (SBU) Summary: Just prior to his departure for
Burundi's interior on August 9, Burundi's Minister of Good
Governance, Venant Kamana, briefed the Ambassador on the
government's message he intended to convey to communal
representatives concerning various political issues plaguing
the nation. Kamana described 4 critical areas of concern
that he will address: the political problems in the National
Assembly following the formation of President Nkurunziza's
new government; the Interpetrol scandal which threatens to
jeopardize international budgetary assistance; the
disposition of various human rights cases including the
massacres in Muyinga; and the recent delay in the
negotiations with PALIPEHUTU-FNL which is causing insecurity
among the population. In his meeting with embassy officials,
Kamana said very little concerning the stalled peace process
with the PALIPEHUTU-FNL. End Summary.

2. (SBU) In a meeting with the Ambassador on August 9,
Minister of Good Governance Venant Kamana characterized the
legislative problems within the National Assembly as
primarily a dispute over the constitutionality of
Nkurunziza's government. Kamana explained that there are two
major points of contention between the government and the
major opposition parties. According to Kamana, the
opposition claims that they have constitutional rights to a
proportion of government positions based on the election
results of 2005. Without denying their right to the
positions, Kamana countered that opposition parties have the
option to join or not to join the government as positions are
offered. Kamama claimed that oppostion parties had been
asked by Nkurunziza to submit candidates for positions within
the government; however, Nkurunziza construed their refusal
to comply as a desire not to participate in the government
and therefore formed a new cabinet independently. Kamana
suggested that any further dispute about the
constitutionality of the government be decided by the
constitutional court and further warned that any attempt to
claim that the government is unconstitutional and without
authority would provoke public disorder. To unlock the
political stalemate threatening Burundi's progress, the
Minister endorsed the idea of dialogue, but not negotiations,
between Nkurunziza's governmnet and the opposition.

3. (SBU) In addressing the Interpetrol scandal and the
disposition of the case involving the alleged extrajudicial
killings in Muyinga, Kamana complained that the Front for
Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) is using the resolution of
these issues as a condition for participating in the
government. In light of the recent arrest of the former
Central Bank Governor, Kamana did not understand FRODEBU's
claim that nothing was being done with respect to the
Interpetrol. Kamana also disputed FRODEBU's assertions that
various cases of embezzlement have been ignored and said that
cases of embezzlement have never been filed at the office of
the Prosecutor General. Kamana acknowledged that the Muyinga
case is currently in the hands of the military prosecutor who
has current jurisdiction. Countering FRODEBU's suggestion of
creating commissions within the Parliament to investigate the
various financial scandals which have plagued the nation,
Kamana suggested that the cases were better suited for the
judicial system, Kamana also urged the opposition parties to
show restraint and patience in the adjudication of suspected
scandals.

4. (SBU) Comment: Nkurunziza and his National Council for
the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense of
Democracy (CNDD-FDD) loyalists are clearly going on the
offensive by addressing their concerns and reasons for the
economic and political stagnation directly to the people.
Unfortunately, the message that they are delivering is
primarily a defensive one, void of solutions and full of
blame meant to disparage CNDD-FDD's political opposition.
Although Burundi's president has wide popularity and appeal
throughout the country, it will likely wane as he pays more
attention to his political survival than the economic and
social survival of his people. There is a lot of time for
Burundi to prosper or for Burundi to fail before the
elections of 2010. Nkurunziza will be responsible for either
scenarios. For the sake of Burundi's impoverished, perhaps
it is better for Nkurunziza to stay in Bujumbura and initiate
dialogue and cooperation to ensure everyone's survival. End
Summary.
MOLLER

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