"in Front of God the almighty, before the burundian people, sole holder of national sovereignty, me, Evariste Ndayishimiye, the president of the Republic of Burundi, swear fidelity to the Charter of national unity, to the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi, and the law..." said the new president of burundi, who was sworn in this Thursday, June 18, in the stadium Ingoma of Gitega, the country's administrative capital.
To avoid a period of uncertainty which could destabilize Burundi, whose history is punctuated by political crises loopholes, and a long civil war (300,000 dead between 1993 and 2006), the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD, has decided to accelerate the transition.
The constitutional Court, vested in the executive, ordered that the new strong man of Bujumbura began his seven-year tenure at the earliest possible, without interim period. The death of Pierre Nkurunziza, who was presented as his " heir ", the general Ndayishimiye is committed to " continue his work ".
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Two months earlier
Evariste Ndayishimiye would have had to enter service next August, but the sudden death of his predecessor, June 8, at the age of 55 after 15 years in power, formally a " cardiac arrest ", has changed the situation. It takes in hand the destinies of a country divided, isolated, impoverished, and faced with the epidemic of Covid-19. Besides, the ceremony is held in a particular context since the outbreak of new coronavirus has prevented any foreign head of State to attend.
The authorities had asked the public to be present early enough to comply with the health measures put in place, such as hand-washing and temperature-taking. But the safety distance, set at 70 centimeters between the people, was far from being respected. And apart from a few officials, almost nobody was wearing a mask. Evariste Ndayishimiye himself had the face uncovered.
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Heir of Nkurunziza
The new head of the State is one of the key players in a power who has led a crackdown on deadly more than 1 200 people dead and led 400 000 Burundians in exile, after the nomination of controversial former president Nkurunziza for a third term in April 2015.
It has not prevented the abuses against political opponents, activists of human rights and independent journalists, committed in particular by the Imbonerakure, the league of youth of the CNDD-FDD. In spite of everything, he has not personally been implicated in such abuse, and is perceived as more tolerant than its predecessor and is not part of the fringe the most intransigent of the plan.
The disappearance of Pierre Nkurunziza, who was to remain highly influential, could give him the cubits a little more frank. But analysts are questioning its ability to break away from the group of generals who hold the real power, and to reconcile a country still traumatized by the crisis of 2015.
At the inauguration ceremony, the archbishop of Gitega, Monsignor Simon Ntamwana, who was publicly opposed to 2015 in the third mandate to Pierre Nkurunziza, has called on the new president to bring " peace among the Burundians ".
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The international community, including the main donors in Burundi (EU, Belgium, Germany...), which, since 2015, impose sanctions, seems ready to let his chance to Evariste Ndayishimiye.
He launched a few signs of opening up to its intention and would seek to pull his country out of its isolation, so prejudicial on the economic plan.
Burundi is ranked among the three poorest countries in the world by the world Bank, which estimates that 75 % of the population lives below the poverty threshold, compared to 65 % at the arrival to power of Mr. Nkurunziza in 2005. Evariste Ndayishimiye had promised during the campaign to make poverty eradication and development in the country its priority.
His first challenge, however, will be the outbreak of novel coronavirus. Mr. Nkurunziza had maintained the elections and refused to confine the population, ensuring that Burundi was protected by the " divine grace ".
But the Burundians are now asking if the ex-president, who, according to a medical source contacted by AFP, was in "respiratory distress" at the time of his death, had not itself succumbed to this disease.
The country has formally identified 104 cases of Covid-19 for a single death. This record is sceptical of many physicians, that many cases and deaths of people with symptoms of the virus have been excluded from the official figures.
After a long time ignored, the authorities seem to have realised the gravity of the situation and have a little shift in their speeches these last few days. Mr. Ndayishimiye might as well devote a portion of his inaugural speech to the epidemic.
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