Why Rwanda chose to miss out on EAC Games held in Burundi.

Rwanda, one of the East African Community, chose not to attend the Inter-parliamentary games of the EAC, which started from December 1st in Burundi, Bujumbura on Saturday. The EAC games are scheduled to run through December 10.

BIG PICTURE: Rwanda and Burundi are locked in sour diplomatic relations since 2015. Two former friends are now seen as ‘sworn enemies’. sometimes Burundi chooses not t attend the events held in Rwanda, and Rwanda sometimes does the same.

In a letter to the Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), Rwanda’s parliament indicated that its members had commitments till Tuesday that could not allow them to take part in the 10-day tournament.

We regret to inform you that the parliament of Rwanda will not be able to participate in the 2018 EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games. Any inconveniences caused are highly regretted,” read the letter.

According to the East African analysis, it is generally believed that Rwanda’s absence in Burundi was yet another manifestation of the sour relations between Bujumbura and Kigali since 2015. State officials from the two neighboring countries have refrained from mutual visits.

Mutual accusations.

As the relations between Rwanda and Burundi continue to deteriorate, Burundi government accuses the Rwandan government of offering militarily training to Burundi refugees to destabilize Burundi’s democratically elected institutions and sheltering the plotters of the failed 2015 coup.

In return, Rwanda accuses Burundi of hosting the FDLR rebels who are accused by the authorities in Rwanda of committing the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.

It is unfortunate that there is a country which did not attend these games that should bring together all parliaments across the region, but the games will go on as planned,” Burundi EAC minister Isabelle Ndahayo told The EastAfrican in Bujumbura.

The minister said the regional games would give the parliamentarians a clear image of Burundi, “which is peaceful and Burundians are happy to see and host their brothers and sisters, and it also means support from EAC citizens”.

About 500 participants were already in Bujumbura from Tanzania, 83, Kenya, 280, and Uganda, 120, to compete in the games, that kicked off Saturday afternoon with a soccer match between the hosts’ Hallelujah FC and EAC select, featuring legislators from the member states.

President Nkurunziza’s Hallelujah FC defeated the EAC select side by 4-1.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Apparently, Unless the international community intervenes to salvage the deteriorated diplomatic relations between Rwanda and Burundi, there is no sign of a thaw between Bujumbura and Kigali.

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