In a letter dated December 8th, 2018, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni of Uganda, responded to his Burundi counterpart in strongest terms ever which may draw condemnations and indignation from Bujumbura. Museveni took a time to respond to Nkurunziza’s letter dated December 4th, 2018.
In a confidential letter of December 4th, 2018, sent to the President of Uganda, the Burundi head of State, Pierre Nkurunziza has revealed that Rwanda’s Paul Kagame has ‘planned, supervised and orchestrated a 2015 failed military coup in Burundi.
THE BIG PICTURE: As some analysts say, Museveni’s harsh and candid letter risks being used by Burundi government to accuse him of bias and used to recuse him from his role of mediator in the Burundian crisis.
By sending a harsh letter to president Nkurunziza of Burundi, Museveni, president of Uganda and current chairman of the EAC and mediator in the Burundian crisis may have in mind of whistleblowing on some hidden matters marring the frosty relationships between some EAC members.
Museveni appears giving a lesson to his counterpart.
Museveni, in this candid but also harsh response, appears to be teaching a lesson his Burundi counterpart on matters related to the history of freedom fighting within the region.
Museveni contrasts his rebellion that captured Uganda to Nkurunziza’s rebellion that failed to gain any territorial space despite 10 years of fighting.
He mocks his Burundians counterpart who, from the letter he sent to his EAC colleagues is evidently grandstanding and being obtuse.
Museveni delivers a slap in Bujumbura’s face.
Museveni reminds Nkurunziza that despite almost 10 years of fighting his rebellion “did not capture Bujumbura by arms. It, along with other exiles, came to Bujumbura by negotiations led by the EAC.”
By reminding him of his failure to exert enough pressure on the then ruling elite in Burundi, Museveni is almost belittling Nkurunziza. He, of course, is telling him in stark terms that even he (Museveni) negotiated with his opponents despite the fact that he toppled the government of Kampala, he captured the whole Uganda by arms.
Museveni reminds the Burundian ruling party that it acted ‘unilaterally’.
In this letter, Museveni speaks out against Bujumbura that the ruling party has chosen to ‘act unilaterally’ without consulting the other EAC members states. Museveni points out that this started in 2015 when Nkurunziza chose to run for another term.
Museveni says that the relative peace and stability ran until 2015 when the Burundi ruling party chose to minimize the Arusha peace agreement which was brought about by the old leaders of the EAC like Mwalimu Julius Nyerere of Tanzania.
Museveni on the brink of being rejected by Bujumbura.
This reminder of their failures is likely to irk the Burundi government. Politically, Museveni has exposed himself to potential claims of bias by the Burundi authorities. They may decide to recuse him from his role of mediator and as a result shutting the small window of hope for inclusive talks.
This rejection of the old Museveni may send a strong signal to the African Union and the United Nations to take the matters in their hands. It should be a ‘golden opportunity for the African Union to address by hooks or crooks the Burundian crisis.Someobservers state that Museveni may be on the point of relinquishing his responsibilities on dealing with Burundi affairs by handing the matters to the African Union and the United Nations.
The African Union is now at loggerheads with Bujumbura over the warrant arrests issued for the accused of the assassination of the Burundi democracy hero, Ndadaye Melchior. This is likely to be a thorny question for the African Union to lead in the solution of Burundi crisis
Confusion in the EAC leaders over who could be the next Mediator in Burundi matters.
If Bujumbura chooses to reject Museveni, this will create a gap in the East African Community leading. Museveni is now the Chair of the EAC block. There is likely to be some disagreements over who could be the next mediator in Burundi crisis.
This is because there is objectively no other leader in EAC suitable for the role of mediator. Kagame of Rwanda is accused of being an enemy of Burundi while Tanzania is accused of being too lenient on Bujumbura, ruling out Magufuli as a mediator. Kenya has shown an unusual lack of interest in the Burundian crisis. Kenyatta is unlikely to accept any invitation to get involved.
Museveni doesn’t agree with Nkurunziza on the frosty relationships between Bujumbura and Kigali.
Burundi leader, in his former letter to Museveni, has pointed out that the regional summit has to take place to address the thorny issues between Burundi and Rwanda. Burundi leader has accused his Rwanda counterpart of destabilizing Burundi by lodging the accused of an attempted coup in 2015.
In a highly confidential letter sent to Museveni by Nkurunziza, Nkurunziza tells President Museveni, who is the Chairman East African Community (EAC), that “In addition to the fact that Rwanda has prepared and supervised the coup d’etat of 2015, the coup perpetrators and other criminals have taken up residence where they receive support to attack Burundi; crossing the Rwanda-Burundi border or via the East of Democratic Republic of Congo as well as getting them assistance and travel documents to enable them to circulate in the region and even in Europe.”
To this question of frosty relationships between Bujumbura and Kigali, Museveni appears not to agree with Nkurunziza. He said: ” This is not the same. In Rwanda, Interahamwe did a genocide, but in Burundi, there are those that are accused of attempting to topple the institutions”.
Burundi may exit the EAC block: towards the Burexit?
Burundi government has not yet responded to this ‘open letter’ from Museveni of Uganda. But as matters could spiral out of control, Bujumbura may reject Museveni’s role as mediator.
Ultimately, Burundi may opt to exit from the East African Community, then the EAC block could face a potential ‘split-up or break-up; the question will be to wait for a ‘remarriage’ between remaining EAC member states.
Read the full harshest letter from Museveni to Nkurunziza here.
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