Bujumbura is counting on Harare’s influence in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to mop up support for its admission into the sub-regional bloc ahead of the SADC assessment mission’s tour of the troubled east African nation next month, 263Chat has established.
A special envoy, Ambassador Nibigira Ezechiel met President Emmerson Mnangagwa this morning at Munhumutapa Offices where he was garnering for support from the President as Burundi’s chances for admission are seemingly hanging on lose thread.
Burundi has a tainted image externally, so is Zimbabwe and the former views the later as its gateway into the SADC.
“Because Zimbabwe is a sister country, with which we have almost the same history and we have the common future that is why we need to relate with this country in a special way,”
“As you know Burundi has applied to become a member of SADC, and the process of dealing with our application is undergoing very well, we believe that after the assessment mission that is preparing to come in Burundi next month towards the end of May, we believe that the decision will be of course taken for Burundi to become a member of SADC. As Zimbabwe is our sister country, we believe that Zimbabwe will continue to support Burundi to become a member of SADC,” said ambassador Ezechiel.
Burundi applied for SADC membership in 2017 amid increasing tensions with its neighbours Rwanda and Uganda, who are in the East African Community (EAC) but its application was denied by the Inter-State Politics and Diplomacy Committee of SADC’s organ on politics, defense and security cooperation citing instability in the country.
But Ezechiel says Burundi has made significant strides since then and can make positive contribution to the SADC bloc once admitted.
“I wish to emphasize that in Burundi we have total security, it’s a peaceful country we have so much to offer to SADC, we are having a lot of reserves of nickel, economically we are growing, we are improving,” he said.
Burundi is at loggerheads with its neighbor Rwanda which it accuses of interfering with its internal politics by harboring fugitives from the failed coup of 2015, an issue that has spelt dissentions within the east African bloc.
With the 2015 crisis having left close to 1000 people dead and thousands more displaced, relations between Bujumbura and Kigali have never been the same since then, more so on trade.
Burundi has been cut off supplies coming through Rwanda as trade has become benign between the two neighbours and this has seen most companies in Burundi failing to get essential supplies into the country.
This has further derailed any prospects of regional integration with fellow EAC members and now Burundi sees SADC membership as a better option.
If admitted, Burundi will become the second nation from east Africa to join the SADC bloc after Tanzania.