Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, aged 55, has died of a heart attack, as reported by the Burundi government on Tuesday June 9.
A government statement says that he was admitted to hospital on Saturday after feeling unwell.
His condition then improved but on Monday he had a cardiac arrest and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.
Nkurunziza was a Hutu former rebel leader and became the second president in Burundi to be chosen in democratic elections. He was elected in 2005 after the end of a brutal civil war.
In March 2018, the governing CNDD-FDD party named Nkurunziza the country’s “eternal supreme guide”.
President-Elect Evariste Ndayishimiye, a retired general, was to be sworn in as Nkurunziza’s successor in August. He won the presidential election with 68.7 percent of the vote, the country’s poll commission said.
The retired army general will take over the helm after beating opposition rival Agathon Rwasa who garnered 24.19 percent of the vote.
Burundians went to the ballot on May 20 in an election that fielded seven candidates.
The election marked the end of Nkurunziza’s 15-year-long rule after his attempt to seek a third term led to riots and political unrest.
The polls also took place despite despite a coronavirus outbreak in the region.
Burundi’s First Lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza is currently in Kenya for Covid-19 treatment.
Ms Nkurunziza was admitted on May 28 at The Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi. A source at the hospital said Mrs Nkurunziza was receiving treatment for an underlying condition as well.
The Burundi’s first lady, who was in the company of three bodyguards, was airlifted using AMREF plane to Kenya’s Capital from Bujumbura 10 days ago using Amref’s acquired portable isolation chamber. This is an innovative medical unit and transportation system designed for optimal safety during patient loading and transport.
This came days after her husband President Nkurunziza ordered World Health Organization’s representative in his country and other three cordinators to leave his country
This move and his ways of handling the Corona virus pandemic has been criticized globally.
Following his death Burundi has declared a week of mourning.