Analysis: Is the East African Community on the brink of split-up?

The East African Community block (made up of six countries namely Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and South Sudan) is locked in struggles and internal affairs which are being characterized by some observers as a ‘decisive sign’ of the Community block’s split-up.

Frosty relations between member states.

The EAC block is marred with disagreements between member states such as Burundi and Rwanda, Uganda and Rwanda as these members do not see eye to eye on some issues; this leads to undermining the EAC efforts towards sustainable development.

The example of these underlying issues is the example of the cold relationship between Burundi and Rwanda: Since 2015, Burundi and Rwanda entered into frosty relationships with mutual accusations of sabotaging the institutions of each nation.

As these frosty relations between Rwanda and Burundi could be left unchecked, it could spiral out of control and prompt the East African Community split-up or divorce.

Another example of bumpy relation is between Rwanda and Uganda: these EAC member states are locked in an ‘underground quarrels‘ such Ugandan government destabilizing his neighbor Rwanda.

Virunga Post magazine once reported that Uganda and Burundi may be ‘fomenting a background scheme to invade Rwanda‘ by doing military training together. It should be remembered that Virunga Post stated its own sources which could not be independently verified.

Flashback: The EAC block once split up in apparent quarrel and disagreement between Uganda and Tanzania, which led to bloody war between Tanzanian Nyerere forces and Ugandan Idi Amin’s forces. All of this flashback leads many to conclude that the EAC may be heading to the divorce.

EAC Leaders letting others down, summits canceled and postponed with no explicit cause.

The recent postponement of the planned EAC Summit which was scheduled to be held in Mwanza Tanzania has sent a ‘bad omen’ for the possible EAC split-up. The Burundi government decide to boycott the summit over conflicting issues in the Burundi government.

Even though the then EAC Chairperson, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, has categorically denied the postponement requested by Burundi, he later ‘bit the dust’ by accepting the postponement of the Summit after Burundi failed to turn up, stating the ‘insufficiency quorum’ to hold the summit.

Analysts say that Burundi gave a ‘slap on the Museveni’s face’ by not turning up in such EAC Summit he convened and would chair. Others state that Museveni has ‘kept a soft spot on Burundi government’, then the latter has ‘shown its claws’ by vindicating its sovereignty.

This frosty relationship between Museveni and Bujumbura may lead the latter on harde3ning its stance on the former as he has has been nominated to spearhead the inter-Burundian dialogue.

This also sends a strong signal of Museveni’s incapacity to lead the East Africa Community block, as one magazine wrote.

Rwanda expected to take the lead of the EAC block amid cold relations with Burundi.

Rwanda is expected to take the lead of the East African Community, taking the role of Museveni. This is planned to be announced in the postponed summit to December 27th, 2018.

But seeing Kigali chairing the EAC block may send a strong signal that Burundi may not cooperate fully in the EAC activities due the enmities between these two EAC member states.

This could entrench the already ongoing ‘activities shunning’ of Rwanda and Burundi. These countries regularly decide not to attend events held in other countries.

Member states deeply indebted to the EAC block.

The East African Community is facing the major budget cuts in spending due the underfunding by some of the EAC member states.

Burundi and South Sudan are said to be heavily indebted to the East Africa Community, having large amounts of unpaid money to the EAC. This leads to the malfunctioning of the EAC block.

As these aforementioned internal struggles in the East African Community are marring the block, some have even suggested ‘ditching’ some member states which are seen as ‘burdensome’ to the EAC block.

A column in the East African magazine has reported that Burundi, one the EAC member states is posing an unprecedented turmoil in the EAC affairs that it should be ‘removed from the EAC block’.

But some analysts do not see eye to eye on this view. Burundi, in general, is not a danger to the EAC block, but the EAC has to sit and resolve the ‘already protruded issues’ in order to ‘calm down the game’ and let the East African Community moving together ‘in the same boat’ without ”casting outside’ some EAC members which are deemed as ‘burdensome.





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