Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has passed away, of a heart attack at the age of 55. The Burundian government has confirmed in a statement that the president suffered a heart attack after playing volleyball on June 6 and died on June 8 at the  Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital in Karuzi.

President Nkurunziza who has ruled Burundi for over 15 years was scheduled to hand over to president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye in August this year. The incoming president, a former army general, was chosen to replace Mr Nkurunziza as the ruling party’s candidate in the May 2020 presidential elections. It is reported that Mr Nkurunziza was granted some incentives to step aside as candidate, including a luxury villa built with public fund at a location of his choosing and a one-off payment 1000,000 Burundian francs ($530,000)

Burundi’s President-Elect, Evariste Ndayishimiye (left) and Outgoing President, Late Pierre Nkurunziza (right) during 2020 presidential elections campaigns

The late Pierre Nkurunziza was born on December 18, 1964, and served as President of Burundi from 2005. He was a member of the Hutu ethnic group and began a career in physical education before the outbreak of the Burundian Civil War which brought him into the moderate 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). He later became president of the CNDD–FDD and advocated for a political solution to the conflict. He was elected president of Burundi in 2000. His decision to seek a third term in office in breach of the two terms permitted in the constitution, sparking significant unrest in 2015. In 2020,

Information surfaced this week that the president had been hospitalised and the First Lady, Mrs Denise Bucumi had been flown to Kenya for medical treated. This sparked speculations in some media outlets and social media that both had contracted the COVID-19. If this is confirmed, Mr Nkurunziza will become first world leader to die of the deadly COVID-19.

First Lady, Denise Nkurunziza Bucumi (rightI airlifted to kenya for medical attention
Author: Abong Nico - Editor-In-Chief


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