Bujumbura (Burundi) – On Tuesday June 9, 2020, the Government of Burundi announced the sudden death of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Nkurunziza, 55, first began to feel unwell after attending a volleyball match on Saturday, and appeared to be improving until he took a turn for the worse on Monday and his heart stopped, the presidency said in a statement.
His death comes on the heels of elections on May 20 in which his hand-picked successor, Ndayishimiye, secured a seven-year term as president — a result confirmed by the constitutional court last Thursday.
Since the announcement of his demise, a number people have started paying tribute to the fallen President.
Incoming Burundian President Maj. Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye said Nkurunziza had left an indelible legacy after spending the night sleeping like a man.
“His Excellency Peter Nkurunziza spent the night sleeping like a man. Congratulations to his family, Conservatives and all Burundians,” Gen. 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. May God receive him into his Kingdom,” he added.
On his part, Tanzanian President John Pombe Magufuli said he was shocked to learn of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s demise.
“I have been shocked by reports of the death of the President of Burundi, Hon. Pierre Nkurunziza. I will remember him for his strong leadership and his efforts to fight for peace, development and democracy,” President Magufuli posted on twitter.
“On behalf of the Government and Tanzanians, I apologize to all the families and all the people of Burundi. May God place him in the right place,” he added.
Other tributes were in response to Gen. Ndayishimiye’s tribute among these were Nibishaka using twitter handle @Ngabiro who said: “We hope you will be his joshua who will reach the people of Burundi to the promised land.”
NDIKUMANA ELISEE using twitter handle @avocatelisee was more hopeful and said, “You will fill the gap. He has done everything to the people of Burundi. Now it is your turn. We thank God for him, his compassion, his love. Take care of his family and all burundian people. We pray for you and the Lord will be with you. RIP
“Heroes don’t die. coward do. He was a Christian, a good father, strong and true visionary a leader creates prepare other leader. You are here to honor he’s memory. He’s at peace now the Father receive him. be strong and courage God will be with you sir,” tweeted Rugamba @LjrRugamba.
– Pierre Nkurunziza –
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. He was re-elected in 2010.
In 2015, his decision to run for a third term sparked outrage among the opposition who claimed it was unconstitutional, leading to protests and a failed coup which plunged the country into violence.
In May 2018, Burundi approved in a referendum constitutional reforms that would have enabled Nkurunziza to rule until 2034, after a campaign Human Rights Watch said was marked by widespread repression and abuses.
But in a surprise move, Nkurunziza announced the following month that he would not run again.
The country remains under the tight control of the ruling CNDD-FDD political party and its notoriously violent youth league, the Imbonerakure, which the United Nations has described as a militia.
Africa Tembelea understands that the president of the National Assembly, Pascal Nyabenda, could take over on an interim basis before Ndayishimiye’s swearing-in, in accordance with Burundi’s constitution later in August.