The Chinese government has donated $200,000 to the East African Community (EAC) as part of efforts aimed at facilitating dialogue in the political crisis in Burundi.
Whiles commending the EAC for their involvement, a Chinese embassy official Gou Hoadong, is quoted to have said, ‘‘Our commitment to the Burundi peace process is there for all to see.’‘
The funds were received on behalf of the EAC by its director of infrastructure, Phillip Wambugu, who thanked China for their gesture. The Burundi dialogue is led by former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa.
The East African Community (EAC) is the regional intergovernmental organisation of the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Burundi and Republic of Rwanda with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.
‘‘We have been almost entirely depending on the generous support of the European Union and China, and I feel the need for your excellencies to consider providing more reliable funding,’‘ dialogue facilitator Mkapa told leaders at the 17th EAC extraordinary summit in Dar es Salaam earlier this month.
The inter-Burundi dialogue had been rocked by challenges in the lead up to its commencement in May this year. The EAC Council of Ministers have continually called on stakeholders to take the process seriously in order to end the conflict in the shortest possible time.
During the first round of talks in May, the Pierre Nkurunziza government stated that it was not ready to dialogue with opposition parties that had instigated violence in the country last year.
The second round also faltered as the government maintained its hard stance on opposition parties. It also coincided with the killing of a prominent politician, Hafsa Mossi, who was an Nkurunziza ally and a member of the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA).
Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term as president led to political unrest since last April. He went on to win elections in July and was subsequently sworn in as president.
Rebel groups have been making the country ungovernable with assassinations and running grenade and gun battles that have killed more than 450 people and forced over 250,000 people to flee the country.