On 31st May 2015 an emergency summit of Heads of States of the East African Community on the crisis in Burundi was held in Tanzania and was attended by Presidents Jakaya kikwete of Tanzania, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Jacob Zuma of South Africa. Others who attended were, Burundi minister for External and International Cooperation Alain Nyamitwe, Rwandan minister for East Africa Community Valentine Rugwabiza, AU Commission Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, UN Secretary General’s special envoy for great lakes region Saidi Djinit, Secretary General of the EAC and AGs of the EAC partner states.
According to a communiqué from the summit, the heads of states met in a warm and cordial atmosphere which is directly opposite to the current situation in Burundi where the ongoing crisis precipitated by the decision of Burundi dictator Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term contrary to the Burundi’s Constitution and the Arusha Accord that ended civil war in that country.
Point 4 and 5 of the communiqué states that the summit received report of ministers and AGs of EAC partner states on the Burundi situation. It is not clear what constituted the content of that report, where it was compiled given the situation in Burundi. Did they visit Burundi? Could the report be a one sided situation report compiled by the Nkurunziza’s faction?
The communiqué also stated that the summit expressed sympathy and solidarity with the people of Burundi and decided to actively accompany them in their exercise of their democratic rights but one wonders how entertaining a dictator who is driving his country into a civil war constitutes sympathy and solidarity with the people of Burundi. Furthermore how can they accompany the people of Burundi when they feared to hold the meeting in Bujumbura? Is the accompaniment through osmosis?
That the communiqué stated that the heads of states welcomed return to normalcy and constitutional order in Burundi confirms worst fears that the summit is out of touch with the reality in Burundi and that the objective of the summit was to protect dictator Nkurunziza but not to return Burundi to constitutional rule as purported. One therefore wonders whether and how the influx of refugees to neighboring countries and continued violence in Bujumbura constitutes return to normalcy.
This is further evidenced by point 14 of the communiqué that states that the summit directed EA partner states foreign ministers and their South African counterpart to communicate the decisions of the summit to the Nkurunziza’s faction. One therefore wonders how communicating with Nkurunziza’s faction without doing the same to other stakeholders like the Opposition parties, Faith Based Organization and the civil society leaders will resolve the crisis. How can the situation be resolved when the summit is already taking sides?
EA heads of states have not only failed the Burundi people but have also opened a front that will consume all dictatorial regimes in the region like prairie fire as very soon the citizens of East Africa will unite and drive all the dictators as happened in Burkina Faso where dictator Blasé Compaore was kicked by PEOPLE’S POWER FOR PEOPLE’S POWER IS SUPER POWER.