Burundi: Association pour la Consolidation de la Paix au Burundi (ACOPA-Burundi) – Communique (10.05.2021)

Opinion: First trade chickens before you establish a confederation …

Since the establishment of the East African Community (EAC) on the 30th November 1999 there been a promise of more integration and “open” borders between the member states. However, there has by the time and the promise been hurdles. Seemingly with time the EAC Partner States or Member States should have resolved these, but there seems to significant changes with every twist and turn.

This involves Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. They are part of it and has their place. The EAC is working on a Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union and the Political Federation/Confederation.

The last piece has moved further as the EAC secretariat is having a 14 day consultations in Uganda and drafting a EAC Political Federation Constitution. That will be vastly different than the treaty, which established the EAC in November 1999. The EAC haven’t even been able to create the other features promised in the EAC. How will it be able to create a confederacy? When it cannot even ensure common market and a customs union over all these years?

Rwanda has distrust with Burundi. Burundi has distrust with Rwanda. Rwanda and Uganda are distrusting each other. Kenya and Tanzania are having squabbles. Even Kenyan and Uganda are having trade-wars too. All of this are supposed to be settled and be water under the bridge. All the people are supposed to be humble and let bygones be bygones. Just forgetting about the issues and the diplomatic impasses, which haven’t been settled and cleared.

Justice Benjamin Odoki can believe in the Confederacy and establishing a Confederation. However, there are two many chickens who isn’t allowed to pass border points. There are to much milk wasted and fighting over ownership over islands on Lake Victoria to suddenly kiss and make up. There are so many hurdles which needs a resolve before even starting writing a constitution for a huge project like this.

Burundi wouldn’t even participate or be part of EAC Heads of State with Rwanda as the Chairman of the EAC of late. There so many possible conflicts and landmines, which if one person dances on that field. It would blow up right in your face.

In 2021 the EAC Confederacy seems like a dream. A dream Yoweri Museveni has had for years. However, it is not sustainable or viable when you cannot even set the bar or the standards for trading chickens across the EAC. When you are not able to trade milk or maize. There are just to many issues with the small offerings, before you take the whole house.

The EAC will go from being a regional intergovernmental organisation to a League of Nation with a Union of Sovereign States united for one purpose. The EAC would become similar to the European Union in East Africa. The EALA and EAC Head of State Summits would have more power and a bigger mandate. They would regulate the trading agreements and joint movement rules between all the member states. That is furthering the powers of today’s secretariat in Arusha.

The EAC needs to fix the spoils and the neighbourly spats which are happening in East Africa. Before they are bounding itself a bigger adventure. When it hasn’t fixed and ensured more flexible trading between the nations. How can it suddenly become a EU of the East Africa?

I don’t see that happening. The EAC needs to gets the ducks in a row or be able to trade chickens before it makes the EALA into the next European Parliament and configures its own European Commission. As it already has its Heads of State Summits, which is more a photo-op these days. Than a place of unity and pledges of furthering the integration of the partner states.

That’s why the EAC needs to swallow some chickens and drink some chai tea before it continues this journey. Peace.

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Burundi: Declaration des responsables des medias et des organisations professionnelles victimes de suspension, d’interdiction, de fermeture et de destructions diverses (01.02.2021)

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UN Expert Report says that DRC gold smuggling increased during COVID-19 lockdown to Burundi and Rwanda…

Yet again there are exploits of conflicts and the resources. The latest UN Group of Experts Report on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) establishes this fact. This isn’t a shocking revelation, as this has persisted for so long. The illicit and trade of minerals in the DRC to the neighbours have been going on for years. Where the militias and other “rebel” outfits have exploited the porous borders.

What was striking was a few of the sentences and that this of business continues. That the ones enriching themselves continues in haste. Producing, exporting and trading illicit gold. This is being exploited and extracted in the DRC. Later illegally exported to Burundi and Rwanda. We know this also happens to Uganda in the report. However, they have not stated the scale there. As we know the Gold Refinery in Entebbe for illegal gold exports.

Here is excerpts from the Report:

Three mining authorities confirmed that cross-border gold smuggling between South Kivu (see S/2020/482, annex 45) and Burundi and Rwanda had increased during the COVID-19 lockdown. Two authorities explained that this was because, while gold production continued, border closures reduced the value of dollars hand-carried into the Democratic Republic of the Congo for illicit gold transactions. According to official mining data, 30.6 kg of gold were officially exported from South Kivu between January and October 2020, while official gold production was 7.1557 kg between January and September 2020 according to mining authority data” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 19, 2020).

The Group noted that, as was also the case in 2019 (see S/2020/482, annex 16), as of October 2020 official recorded gold production for South Kivu was far lower than the volume of gold exported. Total gold production as of September 2020 was 7155.7 grams, while exports were 30.6 kilograms for the year up to October 2020. Following the COVID-19 border closures, only two gold trading comptoirs – Etablissement Namukaya and Etablissement ML – exported gold in the second half of 2020 until the time of drafting this report. Bukavu-based gold trading house Mines Propres SARL suspended its operations in South Kivu as of February 2020, but confirmed to the Group that construction of Congo Gold Raffinerie (see S/2020/482, annex 25) continued in its place (Karim Somji, an associate of Congo Gold Raffinerie also owns Mines Propres SARL” (United Nations Experts Report December 2020, P: 186, 2020).

This here story isn’t a new, but it shows a pattern. Where there is more production than recorded. More gold produced than what is initially registered. This here is proof of the illicit trade, as the records itself states.

The Est. Namukaya is even mentioned an export to Kampala to Muzira Bravia Ltd. A company the UN Group of Experts couldn’t find in a registry. Therefore, that is easy an front and not the true company who imported this gold. That could easily be another concealment.

However, all this here just shows that its big business to trade gold illegally and illicit trade of conflict minerals. Where the DRC is not getting reported wealth out of their resources. While the militias and others are profiting on the mines. That is reality of this. Peace.