Pierre Nkurunziza

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Pierre Nkurunziza (2012)

Pierre Nkurunziza (born December 18, 1964 in Bujumbura ; † June 8, 2020 in Karuzi ) was President of Burundi and chairman of the Conseil national pour la défense de la démocratie - Forces de défense de la démocratie (CNDD- ) from 2005 until his death . FDD). The CNDD is a former rebel organization of the Hutu ethnic group that has turned into a political party. On June 28, 2010, Nkurunziza was confirmed in office in the controversial presidential election in Burundi 2010 without opposing candidates. In July 2015 he was re-elected; the election was fraught with serious unrest.


Nkurunziza was born in Bujumbura, then the capital of Burundi, as one of seven siblings. According to some sources, he was born in 1963 rather than 1964. He went to school in Ngozi and Kitenga before doing a Masters in Education and Sport from the University of Burundi in 1990 . His father, Eustache Ngabisha, was a member of parliament in 1965 and later became governor of the provinces of Ngozi and Kayanza before he was killed during the 1972 Burundi genocide against the Hutu, which killed hundreds of thousands of Burundians. According to his statements, two of Nkurunziza's siblings were killed after the outbreak of the civil war in 1993, and three perished as fighters for the CNDD-FDD. Pierre Nkurunziza was married to Denise Nkurunziza, nee Bucumi, from 1994 and had three sons and two daughters with her.

On June 8, 2020, according to opposition media, Nkurunziza tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. According to the Rwandan media, his wife had been taken to Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi a few days earlier with the same diagnosis . On June 9, the Burundian government announced that Nkurunziza had died of cardiac arrest on June 8 . A seven-day state mourning was ordered.

Political career

Nkurunziza was teaching at the university when the civil war in Burundi broke out in 1993 following the assassination of Burundi's first Hutu president, Melchior Ndadaye . After an army attack on the university, Nkurunziza joined the CNDD-FDD in 1995 as a soldier. In 1998 he was appointed Deputy Secretary General of the CNDD-FDD. In 2001 he was elected its leader. After the rebel organization split in late 2001, he was re-elected in August 2004. From the end of 2003 he was Minister for “ Good Governance ” in the transitional government of President Domitien Ndayizeye .


After a series of CNDD-FDD victories in the elections held in June and July 2005, Nkurunziza was nominated as a presidential candidate. He was elected President of Burundi on August 19 and took office on August 26, 2005. He described himself as "chosen by God". In 2010 he was re-elected; the opposition boycotted the election.

In May 2015 there was a failed coup attempt under the leadership of the former secret service commander General Godefroid Niyombare against Nkurunziza. Shortly afterwards, Nkurunziza was re-elected in the controversial 2015 presidential election . According to the election commission, he accounted for 69 percent of the vote, while the opposition had boycotted the election. According to the opposition, Nkurunziza's third candidacy violated the country's constitution, which provides for a maximum of two terms in office. Nkurunziza denied a breach of the constitution; he argued that his first election was not made directly by the people but by parliament. As a result of the differences on this issue, there was bloody unrest, which is why the vote had to be postponed several times. By the end of July, 80 people were killed in protests and around 170,000 people fled to neighboring countries.

In 2018 Nkurunziza was awarded the title "Eternal Leader". In January 2020, the National Assembly decided for the period after his presidency after the election in May 2020 that he could use the title of “Supreme Leader” among other perks. His party elected its general secretary Évariste Ndayishimiye , who was considered a loyal supporter of Nkurunzizas, as the successor candidate . Ndayishimiye was elected in the first ballot and was supposed to replace Nkurunziza as president in August. After Nkurunziza's death, the President of the National Assembly, Pascal Nyabenda , was sworn in as Acting President.

In the obituary for his presidency, Der Spiegel wrote : "The ailing economy recovered, the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups seemed to be reconciled. But as so often in Africa, the bearer of hope mutated into an evil kleptocrat who brutally persecuted regime critics."

Web links

Commons : Pierre Nkurunziza  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ SE Pierre Nkurunziza. Présidence de la République du Burundi. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  2. Pierre Nkurunziza est un arrêt dedede d'cardiaque. Jeune Afrique of June 9, 2020 (French), accessed June 9, 2020
  3. ^ Charles Bigirimana: Burundi's born-again ex-rebel leader. bbc.com of August 26, 2005 (English), accessed June 10, 2020
  4. The Statesman's Yearbook 2017: The Politics, Cultures and Economies of the World. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, ISBN 9781349683987 , p. 256. Excerpts from books.google.de
  5. a b c d Interview by IRIN News with Nkurunziza, 2004 (English)
  6. ^ Biographical resume of his Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, president of the Republic of Burundi. presidence.gov.bi, as of 2011 (English), accessed on June 12, 2020
  7. taarifa.rw : Outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza Hospitalized Over COVID-19. , June 8, 2020, accessed June 9, 2020.
  8. ^ Burundi Government : Le Gouvernement de la République du Burundi annonce avec une très grande tristesse le décès inopiné de Son Excellence Pierre Nkurunziza. , June 9, 2020, accessed June 9, 2020.
  9. Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi's Eternal Supreme Leader, is dead. Dw.com June 9, 2020, accessed June 9, 2020
  10. a b http://www.taz.de/Praesident-in-Burundi-mit-neuem-Titel/!5488186/
  11. Burundi: Nkurunziza wins presidential election in Burundi. In: Zeit Online. July 24, 2015, accessed July 25, 2015 .
  12. Burundi: Incumbent Nkurunziza wins presidential election at Spiegel Online, July 24, 215 (accessed July 26, 2015).
  13. Inside Burundi: Retirement package for 'supreme leader' Nkurunziza. africanews.com, January 23, 2020, accessed January 23, 2020
  14. Burundi: General Evariste Ndayishimiye chosen to replace Nkurunziza. africanews.com, January 26, 2020, accessed January 26, 2020
  15. What does the surprise exit of Burundi's Nkurunziza mean? ewn.co.za on January 30, 2020, accessed February 5, 2020
  16. Felix Tih: Burundi's president Nkurunziza dies of heart attack. aa.com.tr of June 9, 2020 (English), accessed on June 9, 2020
  17. Pierre Nkurunziza, 55 spiegel.de