A few days ago, there were signs and indications that relations between Rwanda and Burundi, which had been in a state of disrepair for more than six years, could once again be good for the people of the two countries to live together again as brothers and sisters and to visit each other without any problem.
Many observers of regional politics say that the reconciliation between Rwanda and Burundi means three things: full trade, mutual citizenship and military cooperation in order to safeguard the integrity of both countries.
The fact that Rwanda has been at loggerheads with Burundi for days has been fuelled by opponents of its administration, who have been found to be launching various attacks from the country’s territory. The attacks include a May 2021 attack on Bweyeye in Rusizi.
In June 2020, militants from Burundi also attacked the Rwandan Armed Forces base in Ruheru Sector in the Northern District.
Four of the rebels were killed.
One would say that since 2018 Rwanda has not seen peace from the FLN rebels that have been attacking from Burundi. The attacks targeted areas bordering the Southern and Western Provinces of Rwanda.
The fact that Burundi has always been a hotbed for those who want to destabilize Rwanda is confirmed by a political analyst and a lecturer at the University of Rwanda, Dr Ismael Buchanan.
In an interview with IGIHE, he said that if the two countries were reconciled it would mean that they were going to solve the problem.
“In terms of security, we would say that something could have changed because we were in a better relationship and you would not live in a country that has an enemy. I feel that Burundi, on the other hand, needs to do something to restore that peace. “
“Burundi has been a den of people crossing the border in the Nyungwe forest and elsewhere and attacking Rwanda and Burundi and has not denied that people would be on its territory even though they used to say that they escaped from where they did not know.” Rwanda and Burundi need to reunite with Burundi so that they can work together and deal with those problems.”
Dr Ismael Buchanan went on to say that the plight of attackers from Burundi is serious because Rwanda cannot prosecute them.
“It’s not that it’s a big or easy issue. When it comes to the sovereignty of the Nation you look at your land and you don’t look at foreign land. It’s a big deal that someone can attack you and you can’t keep him or her from attacking you. “
“In any case, whether it’s just border security and the return of the border or the disappearance of some people is a serious problem for the country.”
He said that while the two countries would be reconciled, there could be a military alliance aimed at cracking down on the militants.
Another benefit of the reconciliation between the two countries in the eyes of Dr Ismael Buchanan, is that Burundian refugees in Rwanda will return more and more.
In addition to security, Dr Buchanan said that the reconciliation between Rwanda and Burundi would lead to a resumption of relations between the two countries and a resumption of trade between the two countries.
Is there really any hope of reconciliation?
Rwanda-Burundi relations soured in 2015 when the two countries began accusing them of hosting dissidents.
So far, there has been no year of action or public outcry from both sides indicating that there is hope that the issues will be resolved by 2021.
The prospect of resolving the dispute between Rwanda and Burundi began on May 1, 2021, during a meeting of the RPF Inkotanyi Executive Committee.
President Kagame has said that relations between Rwanda and Burundi are improving despite the fact that the two countries have been at loggerheads for some time.
“Our neighbors, only four of us get along well except maybe as just one neighbor. Once upon a time there were two, the second I would say the southern country, Burundi is now on the way to finding a compromise but I think now we and Burundians want to live together and they have already shown that way.”
One would say that since Evariste Ndayishimiye was elected to lead Burundi, things have started to go as planned under the late Pierre Nkurunziza.
It has been seen in talks between the two countries, both in the context of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Military Intelligence Service in order to exchange information in order to defeat the enemy who wants to destabilize the security.
The reassuring words came after also President Kagame’s remarks earlier this year expressed his hope that relations between the two countries would improve.
This confidence was further heightened on July 1, 2021, when the Prime Minister of Rwanda, Dr Edouard Ngirente, was among the many guests who attended the 59th anniversary of Burundi’s independence.
In a public statement, President Ndayishimiye said today that a “new book” would be released on Rwanda-Burundi relations.
He said Rwanda’s solidarity with Burundi in celebrating independence was a source of joy for Burundi. “I would like to inform you that today is a happy day for Burundi, I know that no Burundian is not happy today because even our relatives from neighboring Rwanda have come here to celebrate with us.”
“We are confident that Burundi and Rwanda, which we have been in a turmoil for years, are now going to start a new chapter. This is the hope that the book we have been writing for days will open for us to read together, and then close it and start another part of that book that we would call a new relationship. We are confident that the past is coming to an end and new things are coming.” President Ndayishimiye said.
In addition to thanking Edouard Ngirente, President Ndayishimiye also said that he should convey his message of appreciation to President Kagame and Rwandans.
The efforts of the two countries to reunite are also reflected in the fact that on July 30, 2021, Rwanda extradited to the Burundian government 19 RED Tabara fighters arrested in Nyungwe in September 2020. They are Burundian fighters who had been demanding for days to be brought to justice for various crimes they are accused of having committed on the territory of this country.
In a message via his Twitter wall, President Ndayishimiye praised Rwanda for handing over the fighters to the judiciary.
Another positive sign was seen on Friday, August 6, when the Governor of Kayanza Province in Burundi met with the Governor of the Southern Province of Rwanda, in Ruheru sector in the Southern province, discussed bilateral relations and Burundi delivered the Seven Rwandans had been detained for days because they had crossed the border illegally.
At that time, the Governor of Kayanza, Cishahayo Remy, assured Rwanda that neither his citizens nor anyone else from Burundi would harm Rwanda.
“Rwandans, we assure you that there will be no criminals from Burundi to attack Rwanda, we will not tolerate them and we also hope that no criminals will leave Rwanda to attack Burundi,” he said.
The Governor of the Southern Province, Kayitesi Alice, said that the actions of the Kayanza Provincial Administration were a sign of good relations between the two countries.
She said that good relations, especially between the province she leads and Kayanza, are important because it will enable local authorities on both sides to resolve minor issues without exerting too much energy.
Also on the same day, Burundian envoys arrived in Rwanda to bring beverages to join Rwandans in celebrating the Day of Umuganuro.