The Oasis Reporters
June 9, 2020
Burundi’s incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza who defied the African Union and did a third term in office as president, has died suddenly of heart failure, the government announced on Tuesday, June 9.
When the opposition stood against his third term bid, he raised his fist and crushed many of them. Quite a good number of them fled into exile.
A statement from the government in the capital, Bujumbura says, “the Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi… following heart failure on June 8, 2020,” it said in a post on its official Twitter account.
Nigeria’s ex president, Goodluck Jonathan who promptly handed over power when he lost the 2015 presidential poll to Muhammadu Buhari has offered his condolences, via his Twitter handle:
I extend my deepest condolences to the Government and people of Burundi over the passing on of their President H.E. Pierre Nkurunziza who died suddenly on Tuesday.— Goodluck E. Jonathan (@GEJonathan) June 9, 2020
May God Almighty comfort his family and the good people of Burundi as they mourn. pic.twitter.com/uFMCQ3oCeG
Jonathan further added that “May God grant the Republic of Burundi the grace of peaceful transition that will further strengthen the hope and confidence of the people in democracy and its promise of a stable state”.
Pierre Nkurunziza, an evangelical who believed he was chosen by God to rule the East African nation, came to power in 2005, when he was selected by parliament.
His controversial and ultimately successful bid for a third term in 2015 plunged the country into crisis.
The Violence that engulfed Burundi due to his refusal to quit after his two term constitutionally allowed limit, left at least 1,200 people dead, displaced hundreds of thousands and the authorities carried out a sustained crackdown on the opposition and media.
His death comes on the heels of elections on May 20 in which his hand-picked successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, secured a seven-year term as president — a result confirmed by the constitutional court last Thursday.
Ndayishimiye was due to be sworn in in August.
A statement from Burundi’s presidency on Tuesday said Nkurunziza was hospitalised over the weekend and that his health “abruptly changed” on Monday.
It said the country would observe seven days of mourning beginning Tuesday.
The international media remembers Nkurunziza as he reacted in dances to supporters during the last campaign rally of the candidate of the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), in Bujumbura, ahead of Burundi’s presidential and general elections scheduled for May 20, 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He acted as if there was no pandemic.
Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, often embroiled in tribal conflicts, a bend that neighboring Rwanda has since turned to become a model for African development.