Briefing Paper

Promoting Peace in the Great Lakes Region: What are the Other Options?

The current political tension between Burundi and Rwanda has not only proven to be a threat to
economic activities and human lives. It equally has the greater danger of escalating into a sub-regional crisis in the East African Community (EAC) (herein referred to as the Great Lakes region). The
promising economic prospects in the EAC sub-region, over the past few years, are gradually being
sacrificed on the altar of political suspicion, mistrust, insecurity and authoritarianism. The current conflict resolution approaches deployed have proven to be highly unworkable. It is because the approaches lack the moral and ethical finesse they would require convincing the two feuding political actors to compromise their respective stance. Hence, a conflict resolution approach that establishes the habitual observance of truth about all the suspicions is critical. An approach which assures a high sense of neutrality with the deployment of a mediator emerging outside the geographical confines of the Great Lake region should be given attention. Finally, the application of a conflict resolution approach which would direct a moral persuasion to the feuding actors must also be emphasized. In this policy brief, I seek to highlight the subjective undertones interspersed with some structural arrangements which have underpinned the conflict, unearth the real and potential implications of the conflict, examine the current strategies employed to curb the conflict and their lapses thereof, and then introduce some new options towards addressing the conflict between the Burundi and Rwanda.