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Burundi and the East African Community

The future of Burundi and its role in the East African Community (EAC) is being questioned in light of Burundi’s recent boycott of the 20th Ordinary Heads of State Summit that had been scheduled for Arusha, Tanzania on 30 November 2018. Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza claimed that the notice given was too short. Current EAC chair and President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, insisted that the date had been publicized well in advance, but was forced to cancel the meeting for lack of a quorum. Some are suggesting that the boycott may be a prelude to Burundi’s eventual departure from the EAC or even the breakup of the EAC itself.

Although the government of Burundi has claimed that political stability is now restored after the violence following President Nkurunziza’s decision in 2015 to seek a third term, observers say that Burundi is becoming increasingly isolated and suspicious of its neighbors. There are also growing concerns about allegations of human rights violations, especially against those perceived to belong to Burundi’s political opposition. On December 6, 2018, the United Nations Human Rights Office announced that Burundi’s government had ordered it to leave the country within two months.

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