Cape Town - The South African government hinted but would not explicitly state on Friday that it believed Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza should not run again for president in this year’s elections.
His decision to do so last month sparked over two weeks of violent protests which culminated in a military coup attempt on Thursday. On Friday, troops loyal to Nkurunziza put down the coup and arrested most of the officers involved except for the ringleader, former military intelligence chief Major-General Godefroid Niyombare who remained at large.
On Friday, South African Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said at a press conference in Pretoria that “South Africa condemns in the strongest possible terms any attempt to change a democratically elected government through unconstitutional means”.
South Africa supported the African Union’s rejection of unconstitutional change of government and its commitment to the rule of law and democratic processes. South Africa also supported the efforts of the East African Community (EAC) and African Union to help Burundi return to constitutional order.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa attended the EAC summit in Dar es Salaam which was discussing how to resolve the growing crisis when the coup attempt took place in Bujumbura.