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Burundi: EAC presidents skip Nkurunziza’s burial

No sitting East African Community head of state attended the burial ceremony for the late Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza held Friday.

While in power, Nkurunziza became diplomatically isolated after 2015, when his decision to run for a third term sparked protests.

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli sent Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa, who was accompanied by a 21-member delegation, which included retired president Jakaya Kikwete and his wife, Mama Salma Kikwete, while Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was represented by Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of East Africa Community Ken Obura.

Uganda was represented by Matayo Kyaligonza, the country’s ambassador to Burundi.

However, it was not clear whether Burundi’s neighbour, Rwanda sent any official representative.

South Sudan did not send a representative but President Salva Kiir in a condolence message eulogised Nkurunziza as a leader who stood with the SPLM/A during the liberation struggle that led to the independence of South Sudan.

Last week, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame sent a message of condolences and ordered the flag to fly at half mast, sending signals that he would take the opportunity to mend fences with his neighbour.

“Nkurunziza was a great east African leader whose death was a great loss to the region,” said President Kiir.

All the EAC partner states ordered their national flags to be flown at half-mast following Nkurunziza’s death on June 8.

And for the first time in 22 years, Burundi voted for a prime minister, a post previously outlawed by the former constitution.

Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Wednesday swore in Alain Guillaume Bunyoni as prime minister and Prosper Bazombanza as vice president
Both chambers of parliament—the National Assembly and the Senate—on Thursday approved the country’s new Prime Minister Bunyoni who is the current public security minister while Vice President Bazombanza returns to the office he held between 2014 and 2015.

“Alain Guillaume Bunyoni has just been approved by the parliament as the prime minister of the republic of Burundi with 92 of the MPs voting for him and two voted against,” Burundi parliament tweeted.

“Alain Bunyoni is approved unanimously by the senate as the prime minister of the republic on the proposal of HE Evariste Ndayishimiye,” Burundi senate tweeted.

Mr Bunyoni became the sixteenth prime minister of Burundi since the country gained its independence in 1962.

Mr Bunyoni is a former minister of public security and disaster management. He also once served as the head of the Burundian police, senior advisor in the office of the president in charge of civil affairs and permanent secretary of the National Security Council.

As a member of the opposition party, the National Progress Union, Bazombanza, the former first vice president from 2014-2015, is the only vice president in the new government in accordance with the amended constitution promulgated in 2018.

However Burundi’s leading opposition party CNL criticised the move calling it as cheating by the government, “CNL members did not turn out to the sitting because the approval of the order paper for Vice president and prime minister was hidden and improvised,” the CNL party tweeted.

By The EastAfrican

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