It appears to me that the AU Peace and Security Commission proposal to send troops to Burundi has hit a legal and political deadlock.

Charles KM Kambanda, PhD.

Burundi government turned down the AU proposal. The Burundian constitution is categorical, any armed group coming into Burundi territory without consent from government is an enemy force. The 2005 Constitution of Burundi mandates the armed forces of Burundi to fight such attack. The AU would be going to Burundi for war. The AU, like any regional organization, does not have powers to sanction war under the UN Charter Chapter 53(1).

The AU Peace and Security Commission proposal to send troops to Burundi does not seem to have the required regional and international political support. Burundi government is not willing to receive and support the proposed AU force.

Uganda, which is leading the East African Community mediation initiative, is led by Museveni who is seeking reelection for a sixth term in office. Kagame nominated the East African Community General Secretary ( EAC SG). The EAC SG is supposed to set goals for the regional block projects, is therefore directly linked to President Kagame. There is no information on whether or not the East African Community Secretary General is still servicing in Kagame’s army. What’s not in dispute is that the East African Community General Secretary was part of the rebel group that brought Kagame into power and he’s Kagame’s right hand man. With Burundi accusing Kagame of recruiting, training and deploying ” rebels” to destabilize Burundi, it’s doubtful that the East African Community Secretary General can be neutral.

The European Union and the US are allegedly behind the regime change campaign in Burundi because the government of Burundi signed Nickel mining concession with a Russian firm. Burundi has 6% of world Nickel deposits. Nickel and Tantalum are the two major minerals electronics manufacturers desperately need. There are now reports of oil in Burundi. The EU is believed to have influenced the AU Peace and Security Commission’s decision to send troops to Burundi, basically for regime change scheme. The EU is the major AU sponsor.

The AU Assembly, the heads of State and government Summit, is the only AU organ that can approve deployment of AU troops to any part of the continent. However, the UN Charter Article 53(1) prohibits the AU Submit to sanction war against any member state.The powers to sanction war is reserved for the United Nations Security Council, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter. The AU heads of state and government have, in many cases, expressed dissatisfaction with the way NATO/US used UN Charter Chapter 7 powers to sanction war in Libya; to murder Ghadafi and his family for no apparent reason but to steal Libya’s oil.

China and Russia, have vowed to block US and EU plans to intervene in Burundi through the United Nations Security Council.

Critical issues:
(a) Does the AU proposal to send troops to Burundi viable given in prevailing legal framework and political environment?

(b) Who has proper moral and political authority to mediate the crisis in Burundi in a neutral way, Uganda, the East African Community, the AU, EU, US, UNSC?

(c) There is overwhelming evidence of Rwanda’s direct involvement in Burundi’s crisis. Why has no person or institution that’s ” concerned” about a solution to Burundi’s crisis mounted pressure on Kagame to stop fueling the crisis in Burundi, at least openly?

(d) What should Burundians and the world to (i) together and/or (ii) separately?

Dr Charles Kambanda