Burundi Swears In New President

Burundi has sworn in its newly elected president, Evariste Ndayishimiye, two months earlier than scheduled after the death of now late President Pierre Nkurunziza. The ceremony took place at the administrative capital, Gitega, where he took his oath of office. 

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Nkurunziza died last week after suffering from a cardiac arrest; leading to the pushing forward of Ndayishimiye’s swearing-in-ceremony as he was already President-elect after winning the nation’s May presidential election.

Constitutionally, the president of the national assembly, Pascal Nyabenda was to succeed the president upon death but the nation’s constitutional court ruling favoured the fast-tracking of Ndayishimiye swearing in as President. 

According to reports, Ndayishimiye (a.k.a Neva) is a former rebel leader, father of six and a practising Roman Catholic. He was a law student at the University of Burundi when the civil war erupted in 1993 following the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye. 

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Attacks against the Utus made him join the rebel force that was formed against the then Tutsi-led government.

Ndayishimiye was involved with Nkurunziza in the Arusha peace talks between the government and the FDD rebels; leading to the 2003 peace accord that saw FDD rebels share power with the government. 

He deputized for Burundi’s army chief after the accord before being appointed as minister of the interior in 2006. 

Afterwards he became the Military Adviser to the President and secretary-general of the ruling CNDD-FDD party; before his election as President of Burundi.

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