East African Heads of State have commiserated with the people of Burundi following the death of President Pierre Nkurunziza, who passed on at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital on Monday, June 8.
Nkurunziza, an evangelical Christian who believed he was chosen by God to rule Burundi was elected by parliament in 2005 at the tail end of a brutal civil war.
“His Excellency Peter Nkurunziza spent the night sleeping like a man,” Burundian President Elect, Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye posted on twitter.
“He will leave us an indelible legacy that we will travel to share in the everlasting work he has done for our beautiful country of Burundi,” he added.
Nyenicubahiro Petero Nkurunziza yaraye aryamiye ukw’abagabo. Ndahojeje Umuryango wiwe, Abagumyabanga n’Abarundi bose. Adusigiye iragi ntibagiranwa tuzorigendera kugira ngo dushishikare ibikorwa vy’iteka yaranguriye igihugu cacu ciza c’Uburundi. Imana imwakire mu Bwami bwayo.
— Gen. Maj. Evariste Ndayishimiye (@GeneralNeva) June 9, 2020
Tanzania’s John Pombe Magufuli, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame were among those who took to social media to eulogise Nkurunziza.
“I have been shocked by reports of the death of the President of Burundi, Hon. Pierre Nkurunziza,” President John Pombe Magufuli posted on twitter.
“I will remember him for his strong leadership and his efforts to fight for peace, development and democracy,” he added.
Nimeshtushwa na taarifa za kifo cha Rais wa Burundi, Mhe. Pierre Nkurunziza. Nitamkumbuka kwa uongozi wake imara na juhudi zake za kupigania amani, maendeleo na kuruhusu demokrasia. Kwa niaba ya Serikali na Watanzania nawapa pole familia na Warundi wote. Mungu amweke mahali pema.
— Dr John Magufuli (@MagufuliJP) June 9, 2020
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta also sent a message of condolence and comfort to the People of the Republic of Burundi and the family of His Excellency President Pierre Nkurunziza.
In his message, President Kenyatta termed 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.
“The death had robbed East Africa of a prominent leader whose contribution to the integration and progress of the region shall be sorely missed, and pray for God’s calming comfort as the family, people of Burundi and East Africans mourn their departed leader,” President Kenyatta said.
On his part, President Paul Kagame sent out condolences, on behalf of the people of Rwanda to the government and people of Burundi upon the passing of President Nkurunziza.
On behalf of Gov't and my own behalf I sent our condolences to the Gov't and People of Burundi for the passing of President Nkurunziza. This also goes to the family of the President.
— Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) June 9, 2020
Elsewhere, the Democratic Republic of Congo President, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo said: “It was with great emotion and great consternation that I learned the news of the unexpected death of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, which occurred yesterday, June 8, 2020.”
“In the name of the Congolese people and on my own name, I offer my most sad condolences to the Burundian people, as well as to the biological family of the illustrious disappeared. That his soul rests in peace,” Tshisekedi posted on twitter.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who also serves the African Union Chairperson also expressed his sadness at the untimely passing of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.
“Burundi and all of Africa have lost a leader, who was devoted to people-centred sustainable development, self-reliance, the sovereignty of his people and country, as well as peace on the continent.
“It was under the leadership of President Nkurunziza that Burundi became one of the major troop contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia. Burundi also deployed troops in the Central African Republic,” he said.
President Ramaphosa recalled the sound bilateral relations between South Africa and Burundi, under which South Africa played a key role in the AU-led Burundi Peace Process, which led to the signing of the Arusha Peace Accords in 2000.
Ramaphosa called on the people of Burundi to maintain calm and peace in their country following the passing of President Nkurunziza and in the aftermath of the recently concluded presidential, legislative and municipal elections.