The United States has extended the national emergency against Burundi for another one year even as Bujumbura was optimistic about better relations with Washington following the election of Donald Trump.
President Barack Obama in a statement on November 9, said that Burundi continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States and therefore the emergency that was first declared in November 2015 will continue for another 12 months.
In a video message last November, President Obama said: “The future of the land you love has been put at risk, leaders have spilled hateful rubric… terrible acts of violence that have taken the lives of innocent men, women and children …from Burundi’s painful past we know where this kind of violence can lead.”
The national emergency is declared in a situation which threatens the health or safety of the citizens, and interests of the United States in foreign lands. It means all properties and interests of the United States in Burundi are locked down and may not be transferred, exported or withdrawn.
It was declared on the basis that Burundian authorities had condoned killings of and violence against civilians, unrest, and incitement of imminent violence, and significant political repression which threatens the security and stability of the country.
The national emergency contained in the International Emergency Economic Act, 1975, authorises the United States president to regulate commerce in the affected countries in response to any unusual and extraordinary threat to the interests of the country.
Burundi-US relations had deteriorated since last year when the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza vied for another term. The United States had accused the Burundi government of using hate speech and violating human rights of the people who oppose the government.
However, the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) secretary-general Evariste Ndayishimye, said that the new government of the United States of America will take the opportunity to know Burundi and the truth on Burundi so as to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
“This is a lesson for us Burundians because the United States has showed us a good example that those who have been defeated should accept the results and don’t resort to violence,” said Mr Ndayishimye.
“The Burundi government believes that the change of regime could be a new era and opportunity to mend the relationship between the two countries. “On behalf of the people of Burundi we warmly congratulate you… your victory is the victory of all Americans,” President Nkurunziza wrote on his Twitter account.