Burundi president to be sworn in for 3rd term

2015-08-20 12:07
Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

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Nairobi - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza will be sworn in for a controversial third term in power on Thursday, a top official said, following elections last month, weeks of protests and a failed coup.

Nkurunziza is to take the oath of office, presidential communications chief Willy Nyamitwe said, in a surprise ceremony ahead of an August 26 deadline, when his previous mandate ends.

His third term bid was condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition and provoked months of protests. In mid-May, rebel generals attempted a coup, which failed.

The United Nations observer mission said the vote last month was not "inclusive free and credible" and was held "in an environment of profound mistrust" between political rivals.

Nkurunziza won 69.41% of the vote, an immediate first round victory.

Catastrophic consequences

Burundi's constitution only allows a president to be elected twice - for a total of 10 years in power - but before these polls Nkurunziza argued he had only been directly elected by the people once.

In power since 2005, when he was selected by parliament, he was re-elected in 2010.

Nkurunziza, a 51-year-old former sports teacher and born-again Christian, was a Hutu rebel leader during the central African country's 13-year civil war, when at least 300 000 people were killed.

Top international envoys from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Belgium and United States have called on all sides to "recommit to a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive political dialogue".

AU chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday called for "utmost restraint" by all sides, warning of potential "catastrophic consequences" for troubled Burundi and the wider region if rivals do not resolve political differences peacefully.

Read more on:    au  |  nkosazana dlamini-zuma  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi elections 2015

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