Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has paid last respects to the former Burundi president Pierre Nkrunziza and hailed him for his contribution to the East African Community (EAC).
Accompanied by First Lady Janet Kataha, Museveni today visited the embassy of Burundi to condole with Burundians and the family of His Excellency Pierre Nkuruzinza who passed away on June 8, 2020.
In a message he posted on social media, Museveni said he salutes Nkurunziza’s contribution to the East African community and that his demise at such a young age is simply sad.
President Museveni said Nkurunziza is remembered for accepting the advice from EAC Heads of State to come out of the bush and negotiate with then President Buyoya in Arusha; a move that brought peace to Burundi.
“Condolences from NRM, the people, the government of Uganda and myself to the people of Burundi and to his family. His excellency Nkurunziza listened to the advice of the EAC summit and engaged in a dialogue with the government of Buyoya that brought the Arusha Accord that gave peace to Burundi for the last 15 years. I salute his contribution to Burundi and East Africa” Museveni wrote in a condolence book.
An evangelical who believed he was chosen by God to rule the east African nation, Nkurunziza came to power in 2005, when he was selected by parliament.
His death came at the heels of elections on May 20 in which his hand-picked successor, Evariste Ndayishimiye, secured a seven-year term as president. Ndayishimiye who was slated to be sworn in in August has since took office as president of Burundi.
Nkurunziza took office in 2005, chosen by lawmakers to lead the East African nation after the 1993-2005 civil war killed about 300,000 people.
The peace process known as the Arusha Accords specified that a president’s term can be renewed only once.
But Nkurunziza, who won a second term in 2010, announced he was eligible for a third term in 2015 because he had not been chosen the first time by universal suffrage.
The deadly turmoil that followed badly damaged ties with the international community, and Burundi became the first country to leave the ICC after it started investigating allegations of abuses.
Nkurunziza survived a coup attempt shortly after the 2015 vote. International donors cut support, leaving the government struggling.
Many Burundians were surprised when the president announced in 2018 that he was serving his last term. The government approved legislation meant to bestow upon Nkurunziza the title of “paramount leader” once he stepped down.