|President of Burundi|
26 August 2005 –8 June 2020
|Preceded by||Domitien Ndayizeye|
|Succeeded by||Évariste Ndayishimiye|
|Born||18 December 1964|
|Died||8 June 2020 55) (aged|
|Alma mater||University of Burundi|
Pierre Nkurunziza (18 December 1964 –8 June 2020) was a Burundian politician who served as the ninth president of Burundi for almost 15 years from August 2005 until his death in June 2020. A member of the Hutu ethnic group, Nkurunziza taught physical education before becoming involved in politics during the Burundian Civil War as part of the rebel National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, CNDD–FDD) of which he became leader in 2000. The CNDD–FDD became a political party at the end of the Civil War and Nkurunziza was elected president. He held the post controversially for three terms, sparking significant public unrest in 2015. He announced his intention not to stand for re-election in 2020 and instead ceded power to Évariste Ndayishimiye, whose candidacy he had endorsed. He died on 8 June 2020 shortly before the official end of his term. He was the longest-ruling president in Burundian history.
Pierre Nkurunziza was born on 18 December 1964 in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, shortly after the country's independence from Belgian rule in 1962. He was one of six children born into a family from Buye in Mwumba, Ngozi Province, where Nkurunziza spent his early years.His father, Eustache Ngabisha, was a politician from the Hutu ethnic group and a Catholic. Ngabisha was involved in the nationalist politics under the ruling Union for National Progress (Union pour le Progrès national, UPRONA) and was elected to the National Assembly in 1965. Ngabisha became a provincial governor but was killed in the genocidal violence of 1972. Nkurunziza's mother, Domitille Minani, was an assistant nurse from the Tutsi ethnic group who was Protestant. Nkurunziza himself was considered to be Hutu.
Nkurunziza attended school in Ngozi and studied at the prestigious athénée in Gitega after his father's death.He enrolled at the Institute of Physical Education and Sports at the University of Burundi and obtained a degree in physical education in 1990. He was not known to be politically active. He taught at a school in Muramvya before becoming an assistant lecturer at the University in 1992. He was a football coach for Muzinga FC and Union Sporting in the country's first division. He also taught at the Higher Institute for Military Cadres (Institut supérieur des cadres militaires, ISCAM) where he made important personal contacts with army officers who would subsequently become leading figures within the major rebel groups during the Civil War. He married Denise Bucumi in 1994.
The newly elected president Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated in an attempted coup d'état in October 1993. The killing sparked a wave of ethnic violence between Hutu and Tutsi factions and the start of the Burundian Civil War. Nkurunziza was still teaching at the University of Burundi but was forced to flee in 1995 after hundreds of Hutu students were killed. He spent several years in hiding in the bush and was himself was sentenced to death in absentia by a government-backed court in 1998 for planting land mines.At the time, he became associated with the moderate rebel group National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, CNDD–FDD), largely supported by ethnic Hutus. By 1998, he had risen to the position of General Secretary of the CNDD–FDD and was in charge of coordinating the political and military wings. He fought for their militia and gained the nickname "Pita". He was nearly killed near Gitega in 2001 but interpreted his survival as a sign that he was destined to lead the group. Nkurunziza himself became a born-again Protestant and supported the integration of Tutsis and other minority groups into the CNDD–FDD. All five of Nkurunziza's siblings were killed in the Civil War, three of whom while fighting for the CNDD–FDD.
Nkurunziza became the president of the CNDD–FDD on 28 August 2000 and presided over the movement as it moved towards a political compromise with the government. A series of agreements in 2003 paved the way for the CNDD–FDD to enter national politics, and allowed Nkurunziza to be reunited with his wife and surviving family members.He became Minister for Good Government and the General Inspection of the State in the transitional government of Domitien Ndayizeye which was considered "a springboard post at a moment when electoral preparations were under way to complete the transition". He was re-elected president of the CNDD–FDD, now a political party, in August 2004, and became its candidate for the forthcoming legislative and presidential elections. The elections brought Nkurunziza and the CNDD–FDD to power with a large majority of the vote. He succeeded Ndayizeye as the President of Burundi.
Nkurunziza's term as president began on 26 August 2005 and he soon adopted a number of popular policies. –National Forces of Liberation (Parti pour la libération du peuple Hutu –Forces nationales de libération, PALIPEHUTU–FNL), the final Hutu rebel faction in the Civil War, was demobilised in 2008. Burundi became actively involved in the African Union and the state's outstanding public debt was cancelled in 2009 by the "Paris Club". However, Nkurunziza's reputation became increasingly tarnished in the face of political factionalism, corruption, and continued insecurity. Hussein Radjabu, a leading figure in the CNDD–FDD, was imprisoned for insulting Nkurunziza in 2008. However, Nkurunziza was re-elected for a second term in July 2010 with a big majority but was effectively unopposed, as the polls were boycotted by opposition parties.He presided over the reconstruction of the Burundian state on the basis of the inter-ethnic compromise enshrined in the Arusha Accords which mandated the partition of state positions between Tutsi, Hutu, and the minority Twa ethnic groups. The Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People
Nkurunziza's second term saw rising discontent with his leadership.Outdoor jogging was banned in June 2014 out of fear that group exercise might be used as cover for political meetings. Dissent came to a head with the public announcement on 25 April 2015 that Nkurunziza would stand for a third term in the presidential elections scheduled for June that year. This appeared to be contrary to the term limits established in the Arusha Accords and sparked widespread protests in Bujumbura and elsewhere which led to violent confrontations. However, the Constitutional Court ruled on 5 May that the projected third term was legal. The protests then escalated and dozens were killed.
A military uprising was attempted on 13 May 2015 by soldiers loyal to Godefroid Niyombare but collapsed after extensive fighting in Bujumbura. Assassinations of opposition politicians and critics took place and it was reported that detained protesters were tortured or raped at so-called "black sites" by regime loyalists.The following months also saw the assassination of a number of CNDD–FDD officials and loyalists including Adolphe Nshimirimana. A rebel group emerged as the Republican Forces of Burundi (Forces républicaines du Burundi, FOREBU) and large numbers of civilians fled into exile. Despite the instability and a continuing opposition boycott, the elections took place in July and Nkurunziza was re-elected for a third term.
Nkurunziza's third term saw the country's increasing isolation in light of international condemnation of the repression which accompanied the 2015 unrest.The East African Community and African Union attempted to mediate the conflict unsuccessfully and Nkurunziza's regime became increasingly isolated. Fearing an outbreak of genocidal violence, the African Union attempted to despatch a peacekeeping force to Burundi in 2016 but this was blocked by Nkurunziza. 1,700 civilians were estimated to have been killed in the subsequent repression and 390,000 fled across the border into Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Poverty increased and many middle-class Burundians emigrated. Nkurunziza withdrew Burundi from the International Criminal Court in 2017 and advocated constitutional reforms which would allow longer presidential terms which were approved in a disputed referendum in May 2018. However, in June 2018 he announced that he would not be standing for a fourth term and that he would consequently step down in 2020. The same year, he was given the title of "Permanent Visionary" (Visionnaire permanent) by the CNDD–FDD.
The CNDD–FDD's presidential candidate for the elections of 2020 was Évariste Ndayishimiye, whom Nkurunziza specifically endorsed. The elections took place in May 2020 and resulted in a large majority in favour of Nkurunziza's candidate. However, the elections occurred against the backdrop of criticism of Nkurunziza's response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Burundi during which representatives of the World Health Organization (WHO) were expelled. Election monitors from the East African Community were also kept out.
Nkurunziza died on 8 June 2020, aged 55, at the Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital in Karuzi.The Burundian government gave his cause of death as a heart attack, but it was widely suspected that he died of COVID-19. A week earlier, Kenyan newspaper The Standard reported his wife had flown without him to Nairobi, Kenya, for COVID-19 treatment.
Nkurunziza's death occurred after the 2020 elections, but ahead of the projected hand-over of power in August. It had been announced in May 2020 that he would continue to remain prominent in public life in the post of "Supreme Guide of Patriotism" (Guide suprême du patriotisme) with a retirement award of $540,000 (USD) and a villa provided by the Burundian state.Seven national days of mourning were announced following his death.
Politics of Burundi takes place in a framework of a transitional presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Burundi is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Senate and the National Assembly.
Burundi originated in the 16th century as a small kingdom in the African Great Lakes region. After European contact, it was united with the Kingdom of Rwanda, becoming the colony of Ruanda-Urundi - first colonised by Germany and then by Belgium. The colony gained independence in 1962, and split once again into Rwanda and Burundi. It is one of the few countries in Africa to be a direct territorial continuation of a pre-colonial era African state.
The Front for Democracy in Burundi is a Hutu progressive political party in Burundi.
The Burundian Civil War was a civil war in Burundi lasting from 1993 to 2005. The civil war was the result of longstanding ethnic divisions between the Hutu and the Tutsi ethnic groups. The conflict began following the first multi-party elections in the country since its independence from Belgium in 1962, and is seen as formally ending with the swearing-in of President Pierre Nkurunziza in August 2005. Children were widely used by both sides in the war. The estimated death toll stands at 300,000.
The National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy is the major political 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 March 2012, Pascal Nyabenda was elected as President of CNDD–FDD. Then on 20 August 2016, General Évariste Ndayishimiye was, in the extraordinary congress that took place in Gitega, elected as the Secretary General of the Party.
The National Assembly is the lower chamber of Parliament in Burundi. It consists of 100 directly elected members and between 18 and 23 co-opted members who serve five-year terms.
The Senate is the upper chamber of Parliament in Burundi. It consists of between 39 and 56 members who serve 5-year terms. The current Senate was elected on 20 July 2020 and consists of 39 members.
Gervais Rufyikiri is a Burundian politician who was Second Vice President of Burundi from 2010 to 2015.
Alice Nzomukunda is a Burundian politician and former Second Vice-President of the country, from 29 August 2005 to 5 September 2006. She is an ethnic Hutu and was a member of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).
The Union for Peace and Democracy–Zigamibanga, sometimes known as the Union for Peace and Development–Zigamibanga, is a small political party in Burundi which was founded in 2002 but which only became active after 2007. The UPD is one of the parties in opposition to the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD–FDD) party. It is seen as the party of Burundi's small Muslim community.
The National Liberation Front is an ethnically Hutu political party in Burundi that was formerly active as militant rebel group before and during the Burundian Civil War.
The National Forces of Liberation is a political party and former rebel group in Burundi. An ethnic Hutu group, the party was previously known as the Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People and adhered to a radical Hutu Power ideology, but since the mid- to late-2000s has moderated its stance and cooperated with the Tutsi-supported Union for National Progress party in opposition to the rule of Pierre Nkurunziza and the CNDD-FDD.
Burundi, officially the Republic of Burundi, is a landlocked country in the Great Rift Valley where the African Great Lakes region and East Africa converge. It is bordered by Rwanda to the north, Tanzania to the east and southeast, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west; Lake Tanganyika lies along its southwestern border. The capital cities are Gitega and Bujumbura, which is also the largest city.
Pascal Nyabenda is a Burundian politician, who serves as President of the National Assembly of Burundi since 2015. He has been president of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy since March 2012 and previously served as Governor of Bubanza Province. As the Constitution requires the President of the National Assembly to become Acting President in the event of the elected President's incapacitation, he also served as Acting President of Burundi from 8 June 2020 to 18 June 2020 following the death of Pierre Nkurunziza.
Parliamentary elections were held in Burundi on 29 June 2015. The vote had been initially set for 5 June 2015, alongside local elections, but it was delayed due to unrest. Indirect elections to the Senate occurred on 24 July.
Denise Bucumi-Nkurunziza is a Burundian ordained minister who was First Lady of Burundi from 2005 to 2020 as the wife of Pierre Nkurunziza. She is the only ordained minister who has served as a first lady of any African nation.
General elections were held in Burundi on 20 May 2020 to elect both the president and the National Assembly. Évariste Ndayishimiye of the ruling CNDD–FDD was elected president with 71% of the vote. In the National Assembly elections, the CNDD–FDD won 72 of the 100 elected seats.
General Évariste Ndayishimiye is a Burundian politician who has served as President of Burundi since 18 June 2020. He became involved in the rebel National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy during the Burundian Civil War and rose up the ranks of its militia. At the end of the conflict, he entered the Burundian Army and held a number of political offices under the auspices of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Nkurunziza endorsed Ndayishimiye as his successor ahead of the 2020 elections which he won with a large majority.
|Wikinews has related news:|