The Burundian government has officially declared the small town of Gitega in the center of the country as the new political capital while maintaining Bujumbura as the economic capital.
Jean-Claude Karerwa Ndenzako, spokesman for President Pierre Nkurunziza, made the announcement over the weekend which is in line with a presidential promise made a decade ago, reports AFP.
“Cabinet meetings will henceforth be held in Gitega, where five ministries will also be established from the start of 2019,” he added. These ministries are the interior, education and agriculture ministries.
The government’s decision is yet to be approved by parliament which is dominated by the ruling party.
The former capital Bujumbura is located in the northeast of the country with a population of 1.2 million while Gitega, which was once the capital of the Burundian monarchy, has a population of 30,000.
Political activists have been incensed by the decision claiming the town is not ready to be a capital and the country is not economically prepared to move the five ministries. Also, China recently built a $20 million presidential palace in Bujumbura.
Many African countries have moved their capitals due to population overflow. President John Magufuli of Tanzania has already declared Dodoma as the country’s administrative capital but the government is yet to move completely.
Egypt, Zambia and Equatorial Guinea have announced plans to move their capital cities in the coming years.