Following the sudden death of President Pierre Nkrunziza of Burundi, analysts say that authorities in country’s biggest adversary and neighbours to the north, are watching with keen interest to mend ties.
Burundians continues to observe a week of national mourning, following the death of President Pierre Nkurunziza which occurred on June 8, 2020 in a hospital in the capital Bujumbura.
Before Nkurunziza’s death, relations between his government and that his neighbour in Kigali had long soured with each accusing the other of supporting rebels to destabilize one another.
But sources in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura say that Nkurunziza’s successor Evariste Ndayishimiye who is quite soft, is likely to relate better with their northern neighbours than his predecessor.
Kagame had always accused Burundi of habouring militias fighting his government, some say had always wanted to send his military into Burundi, to hunt his enemies down. Nkurunziza refused to allow him execute his mission.
This had gradually soured the relationship between these two sufficiently smaller countries in the east of Africa.
Reports by the French News Agency AFP, quoted medical officers at the hospital where he was first admitted saying that he died of respiratory complications similar to COVID-19, contrary to the official government position that he died of cardiac arrest.
Pierre Nkurunziza has died a hero to some in Burundi and his death has triggered a deep sense of grief. But for others, his 15 years in power, the longest of any Burundian president, was a period of repression for those who didn’t agree with him.
Nkurunziza government grossly violated press freedom. Nkurunziza never entertained interference in the affairs of his country. This did not please some of his counterparts in the region.
Paul Kagame says Burundi, where Majority of the population are Hutu, accommodates rebels fighting to topple him from power. Nkurunziza’s sudden death, fortunately, came when the country had, already a chosen leader waiting to be sworn-in in August 2020.
The president-elect in Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye is set to be sworn in on Thursday June 18, 2020.
Although Nkurunziza doubted the potency of COVID-19 and said that Jesus was enough to heal the disease, his death has triggered fear among the Barundi.
Following his death, authorities have since instituted strict social distancing, hand washing and mask-wearing regulations. Burundi is ranked the poorest country on the continent.
The country has never witnessed peaceful hand over of power since independence in 1962. Had Nkurunziza stayed to witness the day, it would have set a powerful precedent for the country and perhaps the region.