Media pray for durability of Burundi's peace

Dar es Salaam- Tanzania (PANA) -- The inauguration of Burundi's three-year transitional government Thursday dominated headlines in the Tanzanian media that prayed for long-lasting peace in the troubled central African country of six million people.
Leading Tanzanian dailies, radio and TV stations highlighted the Bujumbura historical event in which a new government of national unity was inaugurated to lead Burundi to democracy.
The papers said with the installation of a new government, Burundians have a real chance to achieve what has effectively eluded them since their country attained independence from Belgium in 1962.
"We call all belligerents in the Burundi conflict who are signatories to the Arusha Peace Accord to take this opportunity (of reconciliation) to lay down their arms in the name of their fellow Burundians, dead and alive, to give peace a chance," said The African, a privately-owned tabloid.
It added: "As the new transitional government takes oath in Bujumbura today (Thursday), we call upon all Burundians, regardless of their ethnic backgrounds and political affiliations to stand behind the Arusha Peace Agreement that forms the foundation to this new era of peace and tranquillity.
" The paper warned Burundi's politicians that the international community and neighbouring countries such as Tanzania were fed up with their political conflict, bloodletting and the refugee crisis.
"Burundi's so-called politicians and armed gangs calling themselves liberation movements should take notice that this is their final hour to remain members of the international community, failure of which the world is prepared to declare them pariah and treat them as such," it further warned.
The Guardian, an English language broadsheet, acting on media reports of a planned genocide, warned Burundians that they risked international isolation if they abandoned the Arusha Peace Agreement as the cornerstone of the reconciliation process in their country.
It said that genocide in Burundi would have devastating consequences for the Great Lakes Region already under siege.
"We do not need more refugees from Burundi.
We pray that the majority of refugees in camps in western Tanzania should start going back voluntarily now that the transitional government has been put in place," the paper pled.
It also carried a cartoon of former South Africa's President Nelson Mandela, the chief mediator in the Burundi conflict, laying bricks for a house divided to make it stand.
The foundation of the house is being built with bricks from Burundi's two ethnic groups, Tutsis and Hutus, which dominate the political history of the country since the colonial era.
In a commentary Thursday, State-run Radio Tanzania urged Burundi's politicians to exercise a higher degree of maturity in ending their country's troubled history.
"The road to peace and tranquillity is under Burundi politicians if they have the will to do so.
So in a sense, the politicians hold the destiny of the country," it noted.

01 november 2001 12:38:00




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