NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 26 – The East African Community (EAC) has warned Burundi that it faced sanctions should chaos erupt after the presidential elections due to be held next week.
This comes after the opposition threatened to boycott the polls, citing lack of confidence in the Independent Electoral Commission.
Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula said on Saturday that the tough action would ensure that the spirit of the EAC Common Market Protocol set to come into effect on July 1 is adhered to.
“Any Burundian be it a politician or any other citizen, should they continue to bring chaos in their country which can have a dangerous effect on East African countries will be banned from traveling to any of the East African countries,” the foreign affairs minister said. “They will be barred from traveling to Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania or even Rwanda.”
He was speaking after trip to Rwanda and Burundi where he stressed the need for the two countries to adhere to the Arusha peace declaration.
“They must be responsible and ensure that their country gets out of the quagmire that it has been steeped into for a long time,” he said.
“Burundi is one of the countries which since their independence have killed three of their sitting Heads of State and this is what the East African community wants to see does not happen again,” he added.
He pointed out that there had been incidences of violence in the build-up to the elections but stated that they were sporadic and not coordinated.
“There has been tossing of grenades here and there but in the last one week they have reduced,” he observed. “We were also given assurance that the security organs are in full alert.”
In an open letter to President Pierre Nkurunziza on 22 June, detailing the irregularities of the communal elections, the opposition alliance had called for a revised electoral calendar.
The presidential poll is scheduled for 28 June.