Egypt bribes Burundi officials for Nile support
D.R. Congo and Burundi were expected to sign the new Nile treaty by the May 2011 deadline however Egyptian leaders are putting pressure on Burundi and Congo not to sign the document, including by bribing Burundi and Congo officials according to sources.
Under the previous colonial Nile treaties, Egypt and Sudan are given 86% of the Nile river share despite the other seven African countries contributing over 95% to the river. Ethiopia alone by itself contributes around 85% to the Nile but it uses less than 1% compared to the 75% used by Egypt (55.5 billion cubic meters of water per annum) and 11% for Sudan.
Earlier this year, Burundi Ministers were blaming Egypt for opposing the new agreement that would give Burundi a fair proportion of water for irrigation and development. However, Egypt is recently using financial incentives and the divide and rule strategy to weaken Burundi’s support for the five nations who signed the new Nile treaty. Accordingly, Egypt has lobbied the muslim minority inside Burundi in order to divide the country religiously and politically. This week, Egyptian newspapers have announced that Burundi official Mohammed Rokara has declared support for Egypt’s stance.
Burundi Minister Degratias N’Duimana said “Egypt is continuing to act as if they can do whatever they want, but the time is soon coming where they will not be able to dictate our water consumption, especially if they treat us this way.”
Egypt has historically attempted to divide African countries religiously and politically, in order to destabilize and weaken their abilities to use the Nile. Under the old colonial treaty, African countries have to ask Egypt’s permission in order to construct dams and irrigation projects along the Nile river. Using its influence over the Middle East’s politics that impact Israel, Egypt also lobbies western donor countries not to finance development projects in poor African countries. Western and international funding for water projects in Ethiopia and in other African countries have been blocked by Cairo for decades, keeping the countries impoverished.