Burundi causes another EAC Heads of State Summit postponement

The EAC Heads of Summit scheduled for November 30 in Arusha, Tanzania, has been postponed due to a lack of quorum.

Tanzania’s publication The Citizen reports that out of the six representatives, one member country, reportedly Burundi, were absent.

Rwandan East African Community Affairs Minister Olivier Nduhungirehe in a correspondence said a new date was set in January or February, which is due for confirmation after consultations among the EAC presidents.

The postponement comes at a time when the EAC Secretariat has expressed concerns about low budget support by member states, which has resulted in the stalling of several community programmes. South Sudan and Burundi are the main defaulters.

This is also the second time the postponement is happening after the 20th Ordinary Meeting of the Summit coincidentally slated for November 30 in Arusha last year was postponed to February this year.

At the time, the Summit would not take place due to a lack of quorum caused by the absence of Burundi.

Burundi had not also attended the 38th Meeting of the Council of Ministers.

According to Rule 11 of the Rules of Procedure of the Summit of the EAC Heads of State, a quorum is made of all Partner States (six) representation, which is in consonance with decision making by consensus under Article 12 of the Treaty.

One of the key agenda in the Summit was the Inter-Burundi Dialogue, whose process had stalled even as former Tanzania President Benjamin Mkapa, the facilitator, presented a report in February. The Summit was to “consult further”.

The United Nations, the African Union, donor countries and other stakeholders voiced concern over the lack of progress after five rounds of talks in the last three years.

The dialogue seeks to resolve the political tensions whipped up by the controversial General Elections of 2015 in which President Pierre Nkurunziza stood for a third term.

“Kenya and Tanzania, who are the best performers in remittances, have slowed down their payments to express their displeasure with the conduct of other members,” the Citizen reported.

EAC is about Sh1 billion in arrears for the 2018-19 financial year, blamed on the outstanding debt of member states

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