President Pierre Nkurunziza has been sworn as Burundi’s president for a third five-year marred with controversy on Thursday August 20th 2015.
The ceremony was announced only a few hours after its announcement. The surprise ceremony happened a few days before the schedule day of his second term completion date of 26th August.
President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi took the oath of office in a surprise ceremony announced only a few hours after the announcement was made. President Nkurunziza took office a few days before his second term’s tenure ends; it was slated to end on August 26th.
His third term has been condemned as unconstitutional despite the court allowing his bid for a third term. The third-term bid has evoked weeks of violence with high profile assassinations and thousands rendered refugees internally and in the neighboring countries.
Nkurunziza won the elections with a first round win of 69.41% of the total votes in an election where the opposition had boycotted the elections. The elections were termed as not inclusive, free or credible and held in an environment of deep mistrust.
Contrary to normal swearing in ceremonies that are attended by high ranking dignitaries, diplomats and heads of states and government only low ranking officers were present and a conspicuous absence of foreign presidents.
The conspicuous absence of heads of states and or high ranking diplomatic representatives of countries at what is traditional a state ceremony with pomp and glitz raises several questions.
The re-election of Nkurunziza has been termed by the international community as unfair and unjust in reference to the manner in which the elections were held. Additionally, Nkurunziza was sworn into office before his previous tenure was constitutional over.
The recent high profile assassination of leaders on either side of the government is a likely possibility for the lack of publicity of the ceremony. The killings have caused fear both to leaders in government and opposition as threats of revenge against the killings have been mouthed by supporters. The hurried ceremony would therefore reduce the chances of well-organized violence and protests
There is high tension in Burundi despite attempts by the East African Community and the AU through the Commission chair Dlamini-Zuma against catastrophic consequence to delay resolution of the crisis. This could have accelerated the swearing in to give the Nkurunziza’s government legitimacy in accordance with the constitution.
Additionally a highly publicized ceremony would mean much unwanted scrutiny and focus on Burundi exerting pressure to resolve the conflict. A hurried surprise ceremony would reduce much pressure and at the same help Burundi identify her allies and at the same time catching the opposition unprepared.