The factors that affect implementation of the EAC Security Policy in Burundi applying the analytic Framework of Byiers and Vanheukelom 2014

 In the last Century, the world has experienced a sudden rise of regional blocs that seeks to pursue common welfare for the member states. This phenomenon was primarily pursued to promote security especially in the post-world war II era, however, the concept of states integration developed to include the social economic interests of the member states. Cheap essay writing service. Trading blocs arose as a form of integration to promote free movement of goods, services and labour across countries. In the East African region, the East Africa Community (EAC) is an intergovernmental organization that seeks regional integration based of the geographical conveniences of the member states. The East African Community (EAC) member’s states are the Republics of Kenya, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Rwanda and Republic of Burundi. The Community has its headquarters in Arusha town in Tanzania.

The Treaty o Establish of the East African Community was signed on 30 and started operations in July 2000 after the ratification process by the founding states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. The Republic of Rwanda and the Republic of Burundi joined the EAC on 18 June 2007 when they signed the treaty. The EAC vision is to establish a prosperous, competitive, secure, stable and politically united East Africa as a base to expand the economic, Political, cultural and Social integration of the citizens.

Burundi Crisis

According to the World Bank 2015 Poverty and Equity Data, Burundi is one of the world’s poorest countries. It is landlocked with limited natural resources. The economy is agricultural dependent. The Burundi people includes the majority Hutu population (estimated at 85%) and minority Tutsi (14%) and Twa (1%) ethnic groups

The vision of setting up a secure and stable region has been undermined by the political instability in Burundi. For the last 2 years Burundi has undergone a political social and human rights crisis that have affected the EAC region. The genesis of this crisis was the decision by the current Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, to express interest in a third term presidency.  According to the country’s opposition, this decision undermined the 2000 Agreement signed in Arusha to end the prolonged Burundi’s civil war. The Arusha agreement had provided a maximum of two presidential terms, on the other hand, the president argued that he was directly elected to assume office in 010 and therefore exempted from the presidential terms capping made by the Arusha agreement. The country’s constitution provides that a president “is elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years renewable one term”(Instant essay typers)

EAC Security policy

The East African Community has an established protocol on peace and security that has been adopted by all the member states. The protocol acts as the guiding policy framework in promoting matters stability in the region. It also stipulates the extents and the roles of the member states in resolving conflicts in the region and how the community relates to the UN, the African Union and other regional bodies in promoting political stability.

Article 8 of the protocol, on peace support operations provides that The Partner States shall formulate a joint mechanism for the operationalization of peace support operations within the context of the Charter of the United Nations, the Constitutive Act of the African Union and the Treaty. The Partner States shall conduct peace support operations within the Community under a conflict prevention, management and resolution framework. Article 4  of the peace and security protocol focuses on Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, it provides that The Partner States develop an East African Community conflict prevention, management and resolution mechanism and they shall manage and seek to resolve any dispute or conflict within and between two or more Partner States or with foreign countries by peaceful means. The Community may, in consultation with the United Nations Security Council and the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, offer to mediate in disputes or conflicts within and between two or more Partner States or with foreign countries.

 It is on the basis of the provisions of Article 4 and 8 that the EAC has sought to implement its policy in Burundi. This has been through appointing a mediator, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to lead the mediation talks between the government and the opposition. The community has also selected a team from all the member states to assess the security situation in Burundi and report to theinter-minesterial secretariat in Arusha. EAC has had supplementary budget allocations to the intra Burundi peace talk’s process to reduce the dialogue funding from EU and China which might compromise the peace process due to real and perceived interests of the funding agencies on the outcome of the negotiations.



Factors that affect implementation of the EAC Security Policy in Burundi

Structural factors

The EAC enjoys the geographical conveniences across the member states; however, these conveniences are more within certain countries due to the control and ease of trade routes. Burundi being a landlocked country has been caught up in the existing structural differences emanating from various economic regimes and geographical locations. Since 2013, As EAC grew there were separations among two blocs. The perception that Tanzania was frustrating the integration efforts led to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda initiating several projects among themselves in efforts to hasten the integration efforts. In this political milieu, Burundi was torn between the two blocs but eventually joined Tanzania and openly condemned the isolationist approach that had been adopted by Kenya Uganda and Rwanda. This was understandable since Burundi relies on the port of Dar es Salaam for export and import markets. This portrayed the Burundi question as more inclined to Tanzania since the country had failed to fully adopt the integration strategies across all the member states.

Role of the Political Elites and Agencies

The November 2015 elections in Tanzania saw the rise of president Magufuli who was willing to pursue a more open integration oriented approach towards the EAC states to the West, the past strained relationship between Tanzania and Rwanda on the mechanisms of dealing with the rebel group Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). The presence of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) in Burundi worsened the situation since Rwanda feared that the coalition between Tanzania and Burundi may have a soft spot for the rebel groups that seeks o destabilize Rwanda. The existence of these suspicions made Rwanda a key player resolving the crisis and interested party in the outcomes. This undermined the legitimacy of the EAC as the chief mediator in the Burundi Crisis.

The National Council for the Defence of Democracy and Forces for the Defence of Democracy (Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie et Forces de Défense de la Démocratie) CNDD-FDD top brass and it’s youth militant goup-Imbonerakure had antagonised many counties in the EAC, managing the crisis did no enjoy the urgency and commitment as envisaged in the peace and security strategy which had been adopted as a result of a participatory process.

Formal and Informal institutions

The EAC Summit of Heads of State is the highest decision making organ in the community. This summit determines the major political and security positions that EAC takes. However, the summit has not acquired sufficient experience to handle internal crisis among its member states. Although this can be partially attributed to the doctrine of non-interference which is the universal approach in regard to sovereignty, the EAC member states did not have a tested and proved clear cut approach to internal crisis. EAC had been conspicuously absent in resolving the 2007 post- election violence in Kenya. The organization only made an initial effort of sending Tanzanian president Jakaya Kikwete to mediate the process. Similarly, the 2010/2011 post-election crisis in Burundi was solved by the African Union AU.

At the start of the crisis, the EAC had not taken a clear position on the contentious issue regarding the Arusha agreement. The organization adopted a heads on the sand approach by pursuing the principles of promoting peace and stability in the region. This fence-sitting soared any trust the opposition and the government would have had on EAC ability to resolve the crisis. If the EAC fully owned up the  provisions of the Burundi Constitution and the accords in the Arusha agreement, the organization would by extension be expected to appeal to the president to drop his plans for a third term. Tanzania’s president, the then president of the EAC expressed this position but the member states did not join him in taking up this stand. There were contradictions to the extent of embassies based in Bujumbura making statements that were contrary to the positions in their mother countries. This confusion undermined the EAC effort in enforcing the security policy that Burundi was a signatory to.

The EAC secretariat did not act on the early warning signs to the Burundi crisis as envisaged in the peace and security protocol. After the president declared that he would be vying for the third term, EAC did not start early crisis resolution mechanisms; they waited until there were demonstrations in Bujumbura. This escalated fast with the excessive force used by the security forces in combating the demonstrators. The role of The National Council for the Defence of Democracy and Forces for the Defence of Democracy (Conseil National pour la Défense de la Démocratie ET Forces de Défense de la Démocratie) CNDD-FDD top brass and its youth militant goup-Imbonerakure escalated the crisis to a connotation between opposition led demonstrators youth militia, party loyalties and the country’s security forces.


Global issues in the Burundian Crisis

            The EAC as a player in the regional integration process had the first prerogative in conflict resolution. This is a global principal to avoid duplication and conflict among resolution actors. The AU pan African body had lad the efforts in signing the Arusha peace agreement whose provisions were the subject of contest in the Arusha crisis. Further this, the AU had been involved in the 2010/2011 post-election crisis in Burundi, in light of this; the AU was better placed to resolve the crisis due to its past involvement. The EAC taking of the lead role in crisis negotiations appeared like a board room effort emanating from the peace and security protocol rather than a resolution mechanism that is recognizing the historical and political context of the crisis. The Arusha accord had been signed long before Burundi joined the EAC and thus EAC’s legitimacy as an authority on the provisions of the agreement has remained questionable.

The AU had announced targeted sanctions on Burundi due to claims of human rights violations, the European Union EU instituted travel restrictions and assets freeze to politicians belonging to the CNDD-FDD . The fact that EAC is a regional bloc in the AU with friendly trade and strategic cooperation with the EU put the organization in an odd position in its claim of neutrality in resolving the Burundi crisis.

The Hague based International Criminal court ICC, had expressed concerns on the human rights abuses in Burundi. As a signatory o the Rome Statute, Burundi was to cooperate with ICC in case they sent their investigators to the country. However, this was against a backdrop of regional hostility towards the court championed by Kenya and Uganda. EAC did not enjoy the deterrent aspects that ICC would have had in promoting peace.

 In April 2015, Nkurunziza’s candidacy was granted and citizen’s protests erupted in Bujumbura the country’s Capital city. There were clashes between the protesters and the government security forces. In May 2015, there was an unsuccessful coup attempt to oust Nkurunziza; in July 2015 the opposition boycotted the planned elections giving president Nkurunziza an n easy sail. The legitimacy of his presidency was however challenged by the opposition. This has fuelled the cycle of violence in Burundi; there has been politically instigated assassinations nod human crisis as refugees trooped to the neighbouring East African countries.

President Nkurunziza efforts to present Burundi as a stable country were mean to invalidate the case for EAC involvement. This insincerity from the government made the international donors to impose sanctions and suspend donor funding to the Burundian government thus worsening the security and humanitarian crisis. The UN approved a police mission to Burundi and the EAC had to continually restructure its approach to the crisis to accommodate the new developments from the international players


The EAC inability to implement its security policy in Burundi affects it’s standing as a regional bloc that can avert crisis without external assistance. This jeopardises the provisions of the EAC treaty and other policies adopted to promote regional integration. The Challenge of a Rwanda that is accused of being an interested party in the crisis, a Kenya that is more focused on the domestic threats from terrorism, a Uganda with a regime whose standing on matters presidential terms may not attract respect will continue undermining the implementation efforts. It’s only Tanzania that is willing to dedicate all in pursuing stability in Burundi owing to I’s strategic point as the main port of entry and exit for Burundian imports and exports.



Burundian Dialogue (2016)the Arusha session sets the direction, but everything remains to be done (Dialogue burundais : la session d’Arusha fixe le cap, mais tout reste à faire), RFI, 25 June 2016,

Statement by the Joint International Facilitation Team (JIFT) on Burundi. 26 June 2015.

Burundi: An Ambitionless Summit (Burundi: un sommet sans ambition), LeMonde, 7 July 2015,

Press release, EALC concerned about Burundi. East African Legislative Assembly, Arusha, Tanzania, 21 January 2016.

Report of the Secretary-General on the United Nations Office in Burundi, January 19, 2015, U.N. doc. S/2015/36

U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), “Flash Update 1—Elections crisis in Burundi and Regional Impacts,” April 27, 2015