from OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA – THE death of Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza brings the curtains down one of the most divisive reigns in the continent.
A young leader (aged 55) by African leadership standards, his death was announced on Tuesday, reportedly from a heart attack.
It thrust the landlocked East African country he ruled for 15 years into mourning.
Coincidentally, he was to vacate office in the coming weeks following last month’s general election won by Evariste Ndayishimiye of Nkurunziza’s National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).
Fellow East Africa head of state, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, was among the first leaders to pay tributes.
“Death has robbed East Africa of a prominent leader whose contribution to the integration and progress of the region shall be sorely missed,” Kenyatta stated.
Born in the capital Bujumbura on December 18 1964, Nkurunziza served as president of Burundi from 2005.
His last election was in 2015 after he secured a third term. This was against limits set in the constitution.
This culminated in protests and alleged human rights violations.
Ida Sawyer of the Human Rights Watch said the death highlighted the urgency for victims to know the truth about the alleged crimes.
“As long as these abuses go unpunished, this dark legacy will hang over Burundi for many years to come,” Sawyer said.
– CAJ News