Burundi's new cabinet appointed

2005-08-31 14:14

Bujumbura - Burundi's new president has appointed a cabinet of fresh faces, many of them young men and seven of them women.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader who was sworn in on August 26, made the appointments late on Tuesday.

They included 12 members of his Forces for the Defence of Democracy. The remaining eight came from five other parties and seven posts went to women.

Burundians, looking to Nkurunziza to lead them toward unity and prosperity after 12 years of civil war, welcomed the new cabinet.

A 30-year-old Tutsi, Helene Nimbona, said: "This is a genuine change.

"There used to be some old people who used to come in every government and moved from ministry to ministry. They are now out of game. I am feeling proud."

Fewer corrupt people

Jerome Niyonzima, a 36-year-old from the capital, Bujumbura, said the number of new faces gave him hope.

Niyonzima said: "We have fewer corrupt people."

Nkurunziza was only the second democratically elected president in Burundi's history.

The first, a Hutu, was assassinated by Tutsi paratroopers in 1993, setting off a civil war between Hutu rebels and the government, then dominated by Tutsis that left more than 250 000 people dead.

While Nkurunziza's rebel group joined the peace process three years ago, one Hutu rebel group, the National Liberation Force, continued to fight around Bujumbura.

Nkurunziza appointed a former army chief of staff, major general Germain Niyoyankana, as the new defence minister.

He also appointed a former rebel commander, major general Adolphe Nshimirimana, to serve as chief of intelligence.

The defence ministry's name was changed to the national defence and ex-combatants ministry to reflect the integration of rebels into the army and the demobilisation of thousands of fighters.