US News Burundi: One year after his accession to power, what assessment for evaist Ndayishimiye?

02:55  19 june  2021
02:55  19 june  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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After 15 years in power , Mr Nkurunziza was due to step down in August. According to Burundi 's constitution, if the head of state dies in office then the president of the national assembly, currently Pascal Nyabenda, should succeed him. Gen Ndayishimiye , commonly known as "Neva", was a law student in the University of Burundi when the civil war erupted in 1993 following the assassination of President Melchior Ndadaye. Like his predecessor Mr Nkurunziza, in 1995, Gen Ndayishimiye survived an attack on ethnic Hutu students at his campus in the then-capital Bujumbura.

As President Evariste Ndayishimiye marks one year in office, Burundi is trying to move out of regional isolation. But human rights abuses and a repressive regime are still a cause for concern. When Nkurunziza died unexpectedly, which the government said was due to a heart attack, Burundi 's courts accelerated Ndayishimiye 's ascent to power . "We have produced a lot of maize this year. We won't finish our stocks!" says a maize seller. A farmer from Bujumbura's wider region says: "Before, money from taxes collected at the district level was not entirely reaching the district administration.

Le président burundais Evariste Ndayishimiye le 16 avril 2021. © Reuters - Evrard Ngendakumana President Burundais Evariste Ndayishimiye on April 16, 2021.

In Burundi, President Evariste Ndayishimiye celebrates June 18th the first anniversary of his accession to power by a three-day religious crusade in Gitega, at the center from the country. The Presidency has set up a laudatory assessment of this first year; Civil society, it is more reserved.

The religious crusade in Gitega, in the center of the country, extends over three days. Festivities that gather all the highest authorities in the country, according to a tradition inherited from Pierre Nkurunziza, who died a year ago. The same religious fever, prayers and songs in front of the same personalities ... Only change this year, it is now Evariste Ndayishimiye which leads the magazine in front of the presidential choir.

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" His [ Ndayishimiye ] main challenge would be how to navigate the different interests and the different competition for power and money within the party," said Chemouni. "We must not forget that he is part of the generals who came to power because they took part in the civil war, so he will Burundi has been struggling with high levels of unemployment and poverty. Many international donors suspended aid to Burundi after the 2015 election, leading to a scarcity of foreign currency. "Both the incoming president and the opposition candidate Agathon Rwasa fought in the bush [civil war — Editor's note]

His death came less than two weeks after his wife had been flown to a Nairobi hospital for treatment for coronavirus, according to a medical document seen by AFP. The foreign ministry invited diplomats and foreign organisations to “take part in the inauguration ceremony” in the capital Gitega, in a letter sent out on Monday. Ndayishimiye , 52, a former army general and Hutu rebel like his predecessor, had been handpicked by the powerful ruling CNDD-FDD to run in a May 20 presidential election.

Reasons for satisfaction

This is, officially, to thank the good God for a year that allowed Burundi to turn the page of the 2015 crisis and turn to development. First ground of satisfaction for Burundian power: the country is gradually coming out of the isolation in which it had been locked during the third term of the deceased president.

Since its oath service , Evariste Ndayishimiye has already visited nine African countries since its accession to power, it has embarked on a standardization process with neighboring Rwanda and since February, discussions are underway with the European Union. and its Member States for the lifting of the budgetary sanctions in place for six years.

Video: The Burundi pays tribute to the '' Patriot '' Nkurunziza (Euronews)

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image captionEvariste Ndayishimiye is an ally of Burundi 's President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi 's governing party, the CNDD-FDD, has chosen its secretary-general as the party's presidential candidate in the upcoming election in May. Mr Ndayishimiye , 52, is a former minister of interior and security, and runs the department of military affairs in the president's office. He is a former rebel combatant of the CNDD-FDD who survived the ethnic cleansing of Hutu students at the University of Burundi in 1995.

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President Ndayishimiye, who has inherited a country ranked since 2020 the world's poorest Bank, has made "economic development and fight against corruption", its first priorities. His keyword: "That every mouth has to eat and each pocket, money.

still at the "promises"

stadium of "simple slogans so far", today believe international or local NGOs. All this does not convince civil society that speaks of a very mixed record.

Release of Iwacu journalists, presidential grace for thousands of prisoners, a little less police repression, a shudder in the fight against corruption, Human Rights Watch concedes "some positive gestures". "There is a glimmer of hope," confirms Gabriel Rufyriri, the president of OLUCOME, an NGO that fights corruption. "But President Evariste Ndayishimiye must translate into action his many promises. In addition, there are serious violations of human rights continue to commit themselves in Burundi. "He made some positive actions, but a real change has still not been done in Burundi, particularly in terms of extra-judicial executions, the abuses against opponents ...," says HRW Central Africa Director, Lewis Mudge.

Lack of currencies, outbreaks and other shortages of essential products ... "It goes badly" in Burundi, regrets Gabriel Rufyiri. "The situation aggravated. The economic growth rate last year is -3.2%; More than 50% of the population lives below the poverty line; The youth unemployment rate is over 65%.

In cause according to Oucoma, the CVIV-19 crisis, to which internal factors should be added such as poor governance and the fact that the government is still the "only promises".

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