US kicks Burundi out of AGOA

General Leonard Ngendakumana, one of the masterminds of the May 13 attempted coup is one of the four Burundians sanctioned by the European Union (EU)

General Leonard Ngendakumana, one of the masterminds of the May 13 attempted coup is one of the four Burundians sanctioned by the European Union (EU)

US President Barack Obama has notified the US Congress of his decision to expel Burundi from the US-Africa preferential trade deal; Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) due to worsening political crisis and a deteriorating human rights situation.

In his letter to lawmakers, Obama says increasing assassinations, torture and arbitrary arrests in Burundi have led to this decision.

“I am providing notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Republic of Burundi (Burundi) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under AGOA,” President Obama said in his message Friday adding that “I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Burundi has not established or is not making continual progress toward establishing the rule of law and political pluralism, as required by the AGOA eligibility requirements outlined in section 104 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703).”

Obama further said he was particularly concerned about the “continuing  crackdown on opposition members, which has included assassinations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.”

Burundi has been experiencing political unrest that was triggered by the ruling party CNDD-FDD’s decision in April to nominate President Pierre Nkurinziza for a controversial third term.

Nkurunziza has since won the third term amid widespread protests, but the violence has not stopped, daily grenade attacks and gunfire especially in Bujumbura have claimed hundreds and residents live in perpetual fear.

Records show US imports from the East/Central African nation under AGOA pact last year were estimated at $4.4 million.

President Nkurunziza’s move to go ahead with his third term bid has prompted international condemnation and sanctions.

The EU has sanctioned three Burundian government officials and a renegade general who took part in the May 13 failed coup, and Belgium has suspended some of its aid to Burundi and has cut all its support to the country’s police forces.

Also. earlier this year,  the United States suspending its training partnership with the Burundian military under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMIOM).

Burundi’s termination from AGOA takes effect January 1, 2016, according to Obama’s letter to Congress.

 

  • Dale Little

    “I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Burundi has not established or is not making continual progress toward establishing THE RULE OF LAW and political pluralism…” – This from from an American President who shows total disregard for the rule of law?

  • kedgimibadhi

    @dale_little:disqus what are you talking about. Which president are yopu refering to? The Kenyan president or the American president? Which rule of law are you talking about. I sympathise with America. If it gets involved it is blamed. If it keeps off it is blamed. It is being blamed for not having gotten involved in Syria. It was accused of getting involved in Iraq and Libya. America did not want to get involved in the Rwanda case and the world saw what happened. If it got involved at the early stages it would have been accused of interference, human rights abuse, and all the nonsense. This time America should not standby as someone is preparing to butcher the same people it is supposed to protect. Get involved immediately and save the innocent lives.