Details of peace threatening letter exchanged by presidents Museveni and Nkrunziza

Yoweri Museveni
Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Would you participate in the overthrowing of a government?These are some of the questions being asked after serious threatening allegations emerged from various African nations.

President Museveni and his Burundian counterpart Pierre Nkurunziza have, within a week, exchanged strongly-worded letters that reveal simmering division between East African Community (EAC) member states.

In a December 4, 2018, letter to Mr Museveni as current chair of EAC, President Nkrunziza called for emergency meeting of the regional leaders to resolve what he called as Rwanda’s “aggression” against his country.

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“In addition to the fact that Rwanda has prepared and supervised the coup d’état of 2015, the coup perpetrators and other criminals have taken up residence in Rwanda where they receive support to attack Burundi, crossing Rwanda-Burundi border or via the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, as well as getting assistance and travel documents to enable them to circulate in the region and even in Europe,” he wrote.

Rwanda on Thursday declined to comment on the allegation contained in Mr Nkrunziza’s letter copied to EAC member states’ presidents John Magufuli of Tanzania, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and his South Sudan counterpart Salva Kiir and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

Mr Kagame is also the chairman of the African Union.

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“I cannot talk now. Leave me out,” Maj Gen Frank Mugambage, the Rwandan ambassador to Uganda, said by telephone.

“In short, Rwanda is the only country in the region that is one of the main destabilisers of my country and, therefore, I no longer consider it a partner country, but simply as an enemy country,” the Burundian leader wrote.

Kigali has broadly denied any involvement in subversive activities against its southern neighbour, even when Burundi has lodged similar complaints with the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the AU.

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The plan to overthrow the Burundian leader, which Bujumbura in the letter to President Museveni blamed on Kigali, was thwarted at the last minute through, according to highly placed sources, cooperation of two EAC member states.

Mr Nkrunziza has since the foiled coup largely remained within the borders of his country.

The resulting tension nudged the regional bloc to designate Mr Museveni as chairperson of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue, a regional effort to restore peace and security in the country at the time engulfed in civil unrest that threatened to snowball into full scale civil war.

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