The two presidents, Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and John Magufuli of Tanzania, on Saturday concertedly launched a campaign calling on the European Union (EU) to lift sanctions against neighboring Burundi.
Speaking in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where leaders of the East Africa Community (EAC) met, the Ugandan leader and newly voted EAC chair in his speech said, “Burundi is our member and no action should be taken against it without our input. Our house is our house.”
He then took it to twitter and added, “also, we don’t agree with the EU placing unilateral sanctions on Burundi. It’s part of why we have not signed the EPA.”
He added that EAC was firmly objected to threats by the EU to harm Kenya. He said the failure to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was partly because of the sanctions on Burundi. Museveni had been tasked by the summit to lead a delegation to Brussels to discuss the EPA.
On his part, Tanzania’s Magufuli said, “they (Europeans) are taking sanctions against Burundi when they are facing difficulties at home like the Brexit.”
However, the campaign call was immediately rejected by the EU diplomats present at the summit, reiterating that sanctions will remain if the current situation continues.
“The sanctions will remain in place as long as the situation does not change,” EU ambassador to Tanzania and EAC, Roeland van de Geer said.
According to UN, more than 1500 people have died in Burundi since April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza presented himself as a candidate for a third controversial run. He was re-elected in July the same year.
Somalia is the newest country to join, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to the East Africa Community.