The situation in Burundi is tense as all the worrying factions in the country look up to the EAC summit due to take place in Dar es Salaam tomorrow to provide a meaningful solution to the month long conflict in which scores have been killed and hundreds of thousands exiled.
The United Nations-sponsored talks between Burundi’s government, the opposition and civil society groups have also been suspended to await further direction from the East African Community Heads of State Summit scheduled for Sunday in Dar es Salaam.
The emergence meeting which was convened by Tanzanian President and chairperson of the East African Community Heads of State, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete is a follow-up to the 13th Extraordinary Summit of the EAC held on 13 May 2015 which was also held in Dar es Salaam.
The emergency summit is being preceded by a meeting of ministers/cabinet secretaries of the EAC partner states today.
Other dignitaries also expected to attend the summit are; the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, who is the current chairperson of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICLGR), and Said Djinnit, the UN special envoy on the Great Lakes Region who shall be representing the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.
Whether or not President Nkurunziza will leave the country to attend the summit is still questionable, as the last time he left to attend an earlier EAC summit resulted in a foiled coup at home.
Peace and stability in Burundi is very key for the East African region as a whole, as it won’t only hurt the region’s development plans if it escalates, but will also downgrade the region’s overall risk rating and investor confidence.