BURUNDI: Married public officials who have concubines face dismissal

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BUJUMBURA: Authorities in Burundi have announced the intention to dismiss from office all married public officials who have concubines.

The minister for Internal Security Gervais Ndirakobuca, said, all public servants with ilegal unions outside their marriages will be dismissed.

The development is a renewed campaign launched in 2017 by former president, Pierre Nkurunziza, to “moralise society.” Under the campaign, authorities gave cohabiting couples in Burundi until the end of the year to get married or face legal consequences.

The government in power, then, said a crackdown on informal relationships was needed to combat a population explosion.

To enact the president’s orders, officials begun organising mass weddings, something Civil Society activists opposed as “a violation of human rights because the state has no right to attack two adults who have decided to live together without being married.”

The then Interior ministry spokesman, Terence Ntahiraja, said that church and state-sanctioned weddings were the solution to the country’s population explosion, and “a patriotic duty.”

“We want Burundians to understand that everyone is responsible for his life, we want order in this country,” he said; “All this is done within the framework of the patriotic training programme,”

President Nkurunziza’s sudden death last year, ushered in Evariste Ndayishimiye, a military general who was hand picked by Nkuruziza’s ruling party and himself.

In his first speech as president, he paid a long homage to Nkurunziza and promised to follow in his path, showing little departure from the tone of his predecessor as he lambasted the international community for interfering in the country’s politics.

With 12.3 million people, Burundi is one of the poorest nations on earth but also raked among the top countries with a bad human rights record.

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