Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza surprised the world when he announced that he would not be vying for the presidency in 2020.
It was a shock considering that the country passed a new constitution that would see him be president until 2034.
In a speech on Burundi’s state television, the president said:
This constitution was not modified for Pierre Nkurunziza as the country’s enemies have been saying. It was amended for the good and better future of Burundi and the Burundian people.
The pronouncement was met with a cynical welcome by the opposition leaders.
“I think he just want(s) to calm internal public opinion and the international community,” Léonce Ngendakumana, the deputy chairman of the opposition FRODEBU group told Reuters.
Burundi fell into chaos when Nkuruniza announced he would run for a third term in 2015. The violence not only resulted in the death of more than 400 people but also the displacement of at least 400,000 people, most of whom sought refuge in neighbouring Tanzania.
Nkurunziza added that he would support whoever runs for the presidency in 2020.
“As far as I am concerned, I am preparing to support, with all my strength, the new president who we are going to elect in 2020.”
This is how social media reacted to the news:
ALERT #Burundi—Nkurunziza promulates his constitution. To change the topic about his power grab, he announces he’ll support whoever will be elected in 2020.
1️⃣-We do not accept his constitution and its content, which was done unilaterally…. pic.twitter.com/IxTX4XlQjF
— iBurundi (@iburundi) June 7, 2018
— Lesley Anne Warner (@Lesley_Warner) June 7, 2018
Has President Pierre Nkurunziza been visited by the Holy Spirit or an evil one? He suddenly decides that he will not seek re-election! #Burundi
— Talent Ahereza?? (@TalentAhereza) June 7, 2018
— Daniel Finnan (@Daniel_Finnan) June 7, 2018
#Burundi ‘bingo’, we shouldn’t be indignant about his behavior if the trend of African leaders and the way most of them treat their country’s constitution to go by. However, pressure must kept on him to respect his words… And #save Burundi of conflict and mayhem https://t.co/e0YVFkutsB
— Amadou AM Demba (@amad6575) June 8, 2018
#Burundi: A new party just in time for the 2020 elections? Drop your emails in the DM, peeps.
— Alain ?? (@alainruvu) June 8, 2018
— Help Burundi (@OnevoiceEA) June 7, 2018
— Joseph Szlavik (@JosephSzlavik) June 7, 2018
#Burundi: No need to be skeptical @Nkuruziza leaves 2020. it’s a result of pple tireless efforts. But, this is not enough: Restoring Arusha, political freedom,Return of exiled citizens, fair democratic elections are what will justify this decision. @EmmanuelMacron @CyrilRamaphosa
— Nkundwa Jean Claude (@Saty_agraha) June 7, 2018
— Djia Ali (@DjiaThink) June 7, 2018
– The face of victory!
You have done everything to give our country stronger institutions: We salute you for that Mr. President!
— William N (@Mr_acquirer) June 7, 2018
The true surprise today would be to one of these “Experts” or “journalist” who have accustomed us with apocalyptic predictions ( genocide, civil war, rule until 2034), to publish an article titled “we were wrong about everything.”
— Understand Burundi (@QCbdi) June 7, 2018