Tensions as Sezibera plots to expel Burundi from EAC



The Government of Burundi is accusing Rwandan born East African Community Secretary General, Amb Richard Sezibera, of trying to eliminate the troubled nation from the regional bloc.

Burundi minister to the EAC, Ms Leontine Niyonzima, on Thursday told Radio Isango Star Rwanda and Igihe Burundi and Rwanda that Sezibera had engineered the decision by Germany through the German Development GIZ fund, to threaten aid cut to the EAC if Burundi is not suspended from the EAC.

Sezibera, a Rwandan physician, politician, diplomat and civil servant was appointed to the position of SG by EAC Heads of State on 19 April 2011 for a five-year term.

Niyonzima insisted this is not the first time that Sezibera attempts to “poison relations between the countries of the EAC”.

Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya supported Burundi against threats by US, France and Belgium during the election period.

Rwanda on the other hand has been mute on the Burundi crisis especially after President Pierre Nkurunziza accused Paul Kagame of supporting pre-election violence, a military coup and subsequent rebel incursion.

Burundi now accuse Rwandan EAC SG Sezibera of spreading pro-Kigali and anti-Bujumbura sentiments.

Tensions between Kigali and Bujumbura are old but were worsened during the 2013 March 23 Movement in Congo.

Tanzanian troops fought alongside Mission of the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) while Burundi provided airport support leading to the defeat of M23.

The rebels were reportedly being supported by Kampala and Kigali

According to Niyonzima, Sezibera is now working tirelessly to ensure Burundi leaves the community.

When she was asked if she has evidence, Niyonzima claimed to had already informed Rwandan and that they were aware.

“You can ask Rwanda the evidence I gave them,” she told press.

However, Sezibera claims that his organisation is working hard to keep Burundi inside the community.

The Burundian minister reminded Sezibera that Burundi is situated in East African region and no one can expel them from the community.

“Sezibera effort will fail,” she emphasised.

Observers to the contrary say Burundi is trying to create hysteria against Rwanda so as to divert attention from homemade problems.

“I think that is why they even labelled M23 rebels as members of the Rwandan army.”

“After alleging M23 was Rwandan army, Congo president, Joseph Kabila succeeded.  Burundi is trying to deploy the same tactics before rebels launch a full out war against Nkurunziza.”

According to analysts, Nkurunziza sees Kagame as the root cause of Burundi’s current problems.

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