Burundi’s Dictator, President Pierre Nkurunziza is dead. Conflicting government reports point to cardiac arrest while others say he died from a heart attack, which are two different things: A heart attack is a “circulation” problem when blood flow to the heart is blocked while cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly
Nkurunziza had just agreed to retire after 15 years in power, a move that caught many people by surprise. Burundians suspect that the dictator had already been diagnosed with coronavirus and was intentionally handing over in preparation for his death.
President’s wife Diagnosed with Coronavirus
However, speculation points towards Covid19. His wife, First Lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, was airlifted to Nairobi’s Aga Khan Hospital after being diagnosed with coronavirus.
Burundi is the only African country that did not enact any policy to curb the spread of COVID-19. They even conducted a public presidential election amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Weeks before the election, Burundi expelled a World Health Organization coronavirus team tasked with helping the country to respond to the pandemic.
The President’s wife, who is also a reverend was flown to Kenya fighting for her life as she is suffering from COVID-19. Many in Burundian suspected the president himself was also sick and see it as Nkurunziza’s cause of death.
The outgoing first lady of Burundi arrived in the country stealthily, accompanied by three bodyguards one who also tested positive.
Details surrounding her arrival remaining scanty especially because only those who have tested negative are allowed into the country.
How Pierre Nkurunziza Came To Power:
Pierre Nkurunziza, come to power through a parliamentary election (acting as an electoral college) with a vote of 151 to 162 on 19 August 2005 and took office on 26 August 2005.
The National Council for the Defence of Democracy–Forces for the Defence of Democracy is the current ruling party in Burundi. During the Burundian Civil War, the CNDD-FDD was the most significant rebel group active and became a major political party in Burundi.
In 1998 a Burundian court sentenced him in absentia to death for his rebel activities. So how did the former Hutu rebel leader manage to rise to Burundi’s presidency?
After betraying his fellow rebels, Nkurunziza signed a deal with Pres. Domitien Ndayizeye in 2003, in exchange for immunity from prosecution for war crimes and a position in the government’s cabinet.
Pierre Nkurunziza Burundi’s ‘Football President’
Human Rights Abuse in Pierre Nkurunziza Government:
Nkurunziza’s ruled Burundi with impunity and an iron fist for 15 years. His presidency was marred by allegations of human rights abuses and muzzling of the press as well as the stifling of critics and opposition.
Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in 2015 led to widespread violence that left at least 1,200 people dead and forced 400,000 to flee the landlocked Central African country.
Apart from suppressing media freedom and criminalising public dissent, he was hated for ignoring peace agreements and viewing for a 3rd presidential term against the constitution. In 2014, he even banned group jogging for fear of a coup de tat or assassination, citing subversive (anti-government) activities.
Nkurunziza the dictator, leaves behind a wife, two daughters, three sons, and a country that ranks as the world’s least happy nation. Burundi has and will continue to deal with hunger, corruption, weak infrastructure, and poor access to health and education services.
How Burundi Slipped Into Dictatorship
National 7 day Mourning for Burundians:
Burundi has declared seven days of mourning for Dictator Pierre Nkurunziza, who turned Burundi into living hell, but few Burundians will mourn his passing. Thousands of families and lives that were cut short by his regime cut short, won’t see justice.
This is such an embarrassing time. His wife is hospitalised in Kenya. His mother hospitalised in Ngozi. His sister, other members of his family… all sick.
Ironically, one of the first presidents to publicly mourn his death is his fellow African dictator, Uhuru Kenyatta, who said that President Pierre Nkurunziza was “an outstanding regional counterpart“.
Incoming President: General Evariste Ndayishimiye
Burundi will have a new president after the country’s election commission declared the governing party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye. The winner of the May 20 poll, who is also Nkurunziza’s anointed successor, has not only been disputed by opposition candidates, but also by many voters and civil-rights groups.
Sadly, Burundians do not see this as a democratic transfer of power. They think power has just been given to General Evariste Ndayishimiye. He doesn’t bring any hope to Burundi because he is part of the political elite that was handpicked by Nkurunziza.
Ndayishimiye has not always agreed with Nkurunziza. He initially opposed the president’s third term bid but later changed his mind which makes him unpredictable.
The President, who agreed to retire after 15 years in power in a move that caught many people by surprise, praised his successor. After leaving office, he was also to receive a luxury villa and a payment of more than $500,000 and the title “Supreme Guide” on handing over his power.
President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza just like his counterpart of Tanzania never closed the economy and he dismissed Corona Virus.
Many people suspect that he had already been diagnosed with coronavirus and was intentionally handing over in preparation for his death.
Should Africa celebrate Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza? After refusing to enact policy to curb Covid19, it may just be the cause of his death!
Further Reading on Burundi:
- The 1972 and 1993 Burundi genocides – Atrocities Watch Africa
- The world looks away as blood flows in Burundi
- Burundi | History, Geography, & Culture | Britannica