The government of Burundi on Tuesday announced the passing on of the outgoing President Pierre Nkurunzinza. The late had agreed to hand over leadership after ruling Burundi for the last 15 years since taking power in 2005. This came after the election that saw Nkurunzinza’s candidate Mr. Evariste Ndayeshimiye defeat his competitor.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has sent a message of condolence to the Burundi people and Nkrunziza’s family terming the outgoing Burundi leader as an outstanding regional counterpart who served his country with distinction as Head of State and Government, and worked tirelessly for the peace and stability of his country and the Great Lakes Region.
President Kenyatta said death had robbed East Africa of a prominent leader whose contribution to the integration and progress of the region will be missed, and prayed for God’s calm and comfort as the people of Burundi and the region mourn the departed President.
Mr. Nkurunzinza will be remembered for his iron fist rule characterized by economic stagnation and brutal crackdowns on those who opposed his government. In another controversial and interesting turn of events, the legislators passed a motion in parliament that could bestow him a title of the “Paramount leader” once he stepped down.
The move implied that whoever won the presidency was required by law to consult him on crucial matters regarding national unity and national security amongst others. In a nutshell, he was to continue ruling indirectly as the “eternal Supreme leader of patriotism” of Burundi.
Nkurunzinza’s death now removes any doubts that the newly elected president will be sworn in in August 2020 as the new President of Burundi. The doubts were due to Nkurunziza’s passion to continue leading the country and it left many people around the world asking if he was truly going to relinquish power.