His country next month will be hosting the EAC Military Games and Cultural event in Capital Bujumbura; he recently officiated at the EAC Health and Scientific Conference, but Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza remains a social reject….a social media reject, to be specific; when talking in terms of the East African Community’s top leadership.
All the five East African heads of state are active users of the microblogging site Twitter, and they all follow each other, except their Burundian counterpart.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta is the most active and has over 2million followers. He follows 34 people including his EAC colleagues, apart from Nkurunziza.
The same goes for President Yoweri Museveni who has nearly 500,000 followers and follows 25, John Magufuli who has 300,000 followers and follows 9, and Paul Kagame who has 1.7million followers and follows 144.
For Kagame, the 144 include several presidents outside the EAC, former Presidents, even Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).
Mr Nkurunziza follows only one of the four – Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli.
The Burundian President recently tweeted out a congratulatory message to his Kenyan counterpart upon being re-elected, but the message was unwelcome to most Kenyans, who hastily accused him of hypocrisy.
Kindly spare us your drama, Kenya is still undergoing democratic process of identifying legitimate winner. This is Kenya not Burundi.
— Joseph Tala (@JosephO70897984) August 10, 2017
The Burundian leader became ostracized regionally in early 2015 after he went against his country’s constitution to run for the third time.
His army launched a coup detat, while the president was away in neighbouring Tanzania, which however didn’t hold for long. Dozens of people were killed in the aftermath of the crisis that ensued, while over 25000 people fled the country.
In July 2015, he contested in the presidential race amid international criticism and won by 69%. Ever since, there have been continued reports of extrajudicial killings of people opposed to his regime.
Following the bloody crisis, regional leaders made fruitless attempts to have Nkurunziza and his opponents sit and dialogue for peace.
Last month, Tanzania’s John Magufuli assayed to revive the crumbled talks, and invited the Burundian leader for a meeting in Tanzania.
At the meeting, Nkurunziza urged all Burundians in exile to return home, declaring that the country “is now at peace.”