Burundi’s opposition leader becomes deputy speaker

Burundi's opposition leader becomes deputy speaker

Burundi’s opposition leader Agathon Rwasa has been elected as a deputy speaker of parliament, despite strident criticism of recent legislative and presidential polls.

There has been a political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term.

Rwasa withdrew from this month’s presidential election and described Nkurunziza’s victory as “a joke”.

Rwasa now says he will “play the game” to bring peace, AFP news agency reports.

Rwasa supported the protests, that began in April, against Nkurunziza’s third-term bid in which more than 70 people have died in clashes with the police.

There was also a failed coup attempt in May.

Rwasa’s opposition coalition also called for a boycott of June’s parliamentary elections, but with its name on the ballot paper it still won 21 seats.

There is a faltering negotiation process, chaired by Uganda, that is aimed at solving the crisis.

Rwasa took up his seat in Parliament to some surprise on Monday saying that as the talks were still going on it was worth participating in the political process.

Fellow opposition leader Charles Nditije said Rwasa’s move betrayed those who died during the protests.

He was elected as one of parliament’s deputy speakers with the backing of MPs from Nkuruniziza’s CNDD-FDD party.

According to the BBC,  it is difficult to see what Rwasa’s strategy is.

But the opposition leader may now have more influence on the politics of the country in his new post.

Source: BBC News.

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Maureen Murimi
Story By Maureen Murimi
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