Mr. Ndayishimiye who is the current Secretary General of the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) will now be the ruling party’s candidate in the May’s presidential elections. PHOTO: Burundi Times
In a congress of 1070 members of the party gathered in the country’s new capital Gitega, Burundi’s ruling party CNDD-FDD this Sunday appointed Maj.Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye as their presidential candidate for this May’s presidential elections as president Pierre Nkurunziza is expected to step aside after the end of this mandate.
Mr. Ndayishimiye who is the current Secretary General of the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) will now be the ruling party’s candidate in the May’s presidential elections.
“CNDD-FDD is not taught about democracy but we are teaching others what is democracy,” said Mr. Ndayishimiye.
Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza who took over the office in 2005 from Domitien Ndayizeye who on 7th June 2018 announced that he will not contest in this year’s general elections after serving his five year term ending mid this year.
“When I took oath in 2015 infront of the National Assembly I said that this was my last term and again I said it in June 2018 …a real man doesn’t change his words but lives and stand by his words,” said Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza during the congress in Gitega.
President Nkurunziza said that the candidate of the ruling party was already known after the three days of prayers which the ruling party organized in the country’s new capital.
“You kept telling the international community that you will make a peaceful transition in Burundi…they didn’t believe in you but now I hope they do,” said Raphael Tuju Kenya’s Jubilee party Secretary General in Gitega.
As Burundi was hit by decades of civil war, this will be the first time in the history of the country for a president to peacefully handover power.
Burundi amended the country’s 2005 constitution in 2018 that would have allowed the incumbent president to contest in this year’s presidential elections. According to the current constitution that was promulgated in 2018, article 97 indicates that “the president of the republic is elected by direct universal suffrage for a renewable term of seven year. And no one may serve more than two consecutive terms.”
In 2015 Burundi president’s move to run for another term in the office sparked violence in the country as opposition argued the incumbent violated the then country’s constitution.
“I think it was clear that the Constitutional Court said I legally contested in 2015 and even the East African Court of Justice came to the same conclusion,” President Pierre Nkurunziza said during the congress.
The 2005 constitution limited a president to run for more than two terms in the office, however the constitutional court ruled in his favor and that the president never violated the constitution as his first term in 2005 did not count since he was not elected directly by the people.
New law on former presidents
A new law was passed by the Burundi parliament last week that provides a package of one billion Burundi francs, life time salary, a house to where he(outgoing president) may desire within the territory with other benefits including security and salary as that of a sitting vice president.
According to Burundi’s justice minister Laurentine Kanyana, the new law targets the outgoing presidents who got into power through democratic elections.
“When a president gets into power through a coup d’état he doesn’t have the same trust in people like one who was democratically elected by the people so he or she can’t benefit from this law,” said Ms Kanyana.
Initially the law granted bonuses and packages to the former presidents of the republic without regarding how they got in the helm.
“This law concerns former presidents of Burundi since 1962 when the country gained its independence…most of them get into power through coup d’état not until in 1993,” said the justice minister.
In 1993 Burundi’s first democratically elected and Hutu president Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated in Bujumbura after three months in the office, since then the only president who was elected by the people is President Pierre Nkurunziza.
President Pierre Nkurunziza and the family of Melchior Ndadaye are the only families expected to benefit from the package.