With a debt estimated at US $ 9 million following its delay in the payment of annual contributions since fiscal year 2016-2017, Burundi is under threat of expulsion from the East African Community (EAC) . Rwandan President Paul Kagame has relaunched the debate on Burundi’s arrears within this organization, of which he has also held the presidency since 2019.
This is a new turning point in the threat of expulsion of Burundi from the East African Community (EAC). Paul Kagame, Rwandan President who is also the current president of this organization, spoke out on this question, which tarnishes the image of the country dear to Evariste Ndayishimiye. In an interview with the Kenyan media The EastAfrican , the Rwandan leader put the Burundian government in front of its responsibilities, indicating that it is inadmissible that “some countries permanently bear the burden of others”. In blunt language, Mr. Kagame urged the new government to pay off all arrears in order to maintain its membership in the EAC.
“We had situations where the partners had difficulty. I remember once when the region came together and we all contributed for Burundi, because at one point they were in a difficult situation. You can do this once or twice, but it should not result in some countries constantly carrying the burden of others. It was like saying maybe we tried to contribute for you, but now we believe that you are able to play your part so that you fully engage in the organization and benefit fully, while contributing fully like all of us, ”he said.
A reaction without diplomatic consequences?
Indeed, after the vote on the motion to expel Burundi from this Community, the new regime, through its minister responsible for the affairs of the Community of East African States, quickly reacted, reassuring that “we are committed to honoring commitments, including financial commitments. This is not the first time that Burundi has been in arrears within this community. This delay is not a problem at all ”.
Will President Paul Kagame’s reaction have an impact on relations between his country and Burundi? Nothing is less sure! However, during this meeting, the Rwandan President also expressed his desire to strengthen the link between the two countries. “We want to see both governments start to tackle the underlying issues. We are eager to improve things, but this involves several factors. We think things can get better. We are optimistic ”.