Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has told Burundi leader Pierre Nkurunziza he should postpone a presidential election due next month after last week’s failed military coup, Kenyatta’s spokesman said on Monday.
Manoah Esipisu said the two leaders, whose nations belong to the East African Community (EAC) common market, had spoken by phone on Sunday. Kenyatta’s counterparts in the region shared his view, he added.
Regional leaders want the election date changed from June 26 to create a “conducive environment” but the vote should still be held within the current electoral cycle, which comes to an end in late August, Esipisu said.
The landlocked east African nation has been plunged into crisis since Nkurunziza pushed for a third term of office, a move his opponents say breaks the constitution and a 2005 peace agreement that ended an ethnically driven civil war.
As many as 300,000 people died in the war, and there are fears the current crisis could inflame lingering tensions between the majority Hutu population and the Tutsi minority.
More than 105,000 people have fled to neighboring states, including Rwanda, which has the same ethnic mix as Burundi and which was torn apart by a genocide in 1994 that killed 800,000 mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus.