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African Unions's 5,000 Troops for Burundi was a Gimmick

Following the crisis in Burundi, the African Union (AU) threatened to act and ‘terrified’ the world with how ready and prepared it was to ensure that Burundi does not go down South. It so appeared that the AU had learnt; learnt lessons that came with the post-Cold war complex emergencies that hit Africa hard. Who has forgotten Rwanda? I haven’t. Why would the AU do? So the continental body posed as though it was really concerned about the grave situation in Burundi and that it was doing everything in its power to ensure that Burundi does not go the Rwanda way.

We could see it; see like the AU was really concerned. That the continental body was actually doing something about the situation in Burundi and that the AU was in control. So there were statements and resolutions emanating from its capital Addis Ababa. For instance, there was this famous one; a decision by the AU to deploy 5,000 troops to Burundi. At first this sounded like a great idea. But come to think about it! Was the AU serious? Was that even feasible? Look at the sheer number. Look at the challenges of the mandate and the legal huddles (for instance, Burundi already declared to fight the force if it set foot on her soil). But, even more interesting is this; where was that force to be stationed? Where would the AU organize the 5,000 troops from? I mean, where would they put the base? Uganda? No. Because Museveni had no moral authority. Rwanda. No. Because Kagame had taken a side. Tanzania? No. Because Tanzania is always Burundi’s godfather. Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? No. Because Kabila was busy doing something not so different from Nkurunziza’s. Kenya? Perhaps yes. But what about the logistical nightmare given the distance.

Looking at it a little carefully tells you that there was not such a possibility for the AU to deploy any force in Burundi. It was just a gimmick. The AU had to appear to be concerned; appear to be working; appear to be responsible; appear to be ready; appear to be prepared; appear to be proactive; appear to have learned its lessons and above all appear to be offering African solutions to African problems. Having said that; what again is holding back the AU standby force? 
African Unions's 5,000 Troops for Burundi was a Gimmick African Unions's 5,000 Troops for Burundi was a Gimmick Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on May 12, 2017 Rating: 5

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