African Union Backs Down by Listening to Burundi

African Union Backs Down by Listening to Burundi

Paul Joseph Nzeribe, Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


The African Union (AU) finally listened to political elites in Burundi therefore this organization will no longer send 5,000 peacekeepers to this nation. Instead, the AU now insists that political dialogue is needed in order to stem the tide of violence in Burundi. Therefore, it is essential for the government of Burundi to focus on a political solution and to foster closer relations with all interested parties.

Prior to the announcement by the AU in relenting from sending a 5,000 peacekeeping force, it appeared that a confrontation was on the cards. After all, parliamentarians in Burundi denounced the proposed AU “invasion force.”

Modern Tokyo Times reported prior to the AU backing down that: Parliamentarians in Burundi have reacted strongly to attempts by outside nations to meddle into the internal affairs of this nation. Indeed, proposals by the African Union (AU) for a peacekeeping force are deemed an “invasion force.” Therefore, African nations – and European nations including Belgium and France – must take note of the government of Burundi before deciding on upping the ante.”

Jean-Claude Karerwa, the deputy presidential spokesperson for Burundi, had made it abundantly clear that no outside nation or organization would impose a diktat on Burundi. Karerwa commented “Burundi is clear on the matter: it is not ready to accept an AU force on its territory…If AU troops came without the government’s approval, it would be an invasion and occupation force, and the Burundi government would reserve the right to act accordingly.

It seems that realism finally dawned on the AU, Belgium and France because the government of Burundi opposed this threatened diktat. President Pierre Nkurunziza stated that Burundi’s sovereignty was being threatened by outside meddling. Therefore, the AU, Belgium and France rightly calculated that new political convulsions might entail given the anger that was brewing in Rwanda.

The BBC says: “The African Union has abandoned its plan to send 5,000 peacekeepers to help restore stability to troubled Burundi… Officials said they would instead encourage political dialogue between Burundi’s opposing sides.”

Therefore, it is vital that Burundi takes this opportunity to strengthen its hand regionally and internationally. Given this reality, Nkurunziza must foster a milder approach to internal opposition forces that are open to genuine talks.


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