Sadc rejects Burundi’s application to join bloc

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. /COURTESY PHOTO

WINDHOEK – President Hage Geingob yesterday revealed that the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc), of which he is chairman, has rejected the latest application by Burundi to become part of the regional bloc. Burundi’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ezechiel Nibigira paid a courtesy call on President Geingob in April to trump up support for his country’s attempt to become a member of Sadc. The regional body’s evaluation team visited Burundi this month for inspections on whether the country meets the requirements before being admitted as Sadc member.

Nibigira is a special envoy of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on the matter.

But Burundi has for the past few years failed to meet the admission requirements.

Much of this is attributed to the fact that Burundi first needed to resolve the internal political instability that Nkurunziza is alleged to have provoked in 2015 when he sought a third term in office.

Briefing visiting Tanzanian President John Magufuli on the matter yesterday, Geingob said Burundi did not pass the Sadc admission requirement after the latest assessment.

“The Sadc assessment mission has been sent to Burundi, but recommended thus far that it is not yet propitious for Burundi to be admitted into Sadc,” said the Namibian Head of State.

“This is due to the unresolved democratic process in that country,” he clarified.

Dwelling on political issues in East Africa, Geingob remarked: “We are also concerned about the accusations and counter-accusations between Burundi and Rwanda, about interference in each other’s internal affairs. I will be delighted if Your Excellency [Magufuli] can shed any light on the current situation in Burundi and the security situation between Burundi and Rwanda.”

Sadc is seen as one of the most stable and attractive regional economic communities in Africa.

Nibigira, during his engagement with Geingob last month, insisted that Burundi is a peaceful country and respects the rule of law, adding that Nkurunziza’s hold onto power was attained through democratic means.

The country is currently preparing for the 2020 national elections but Nkurunziza has revealed he will not stand as a candidate, the envoy said.


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