Incumbent Burundi president dies months before he becomes “supreme leader of patriotism”

CAPE TOWN, June 9 (ANA) – Controversial Burundi president, Pierre Nkurunziza, has died of heart failure according to its government’s official Twitter account.

Nkurunziza died of heart failure at the age of 55 on Monday after failed efforts to revive him, reported the BBC. He was reportedly admitted to hospital on Saturday after feeling unwell.

“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,” Burundi Government announced on Twitter today.

The incumbent president was due to step down in August, following the ruling party’s new presidential candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, winning the elections held in May 2020, BBC reported.

Nkurunziza held a 15-year term at the helm of the landlocked East African country and chose to step down after this year’s elections.

He was set to receive the title of “supreme leader of patriotism” along with USD 540 000 as a retirement payout, a luxury villa, and by law needed to be consulted on matters of national security and unity.

The late Nkurunziza  however, could’ve gone on to be Commander in Chief of Burundi up until 2034, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

This is after the 2018 referendum vote that changed the constitution and subsequently extended the presidential term from five years to seven.

His controversial third term election campaign in 2015 plunged the country into chaos as many questioned the legality of this action, according to BBC.

Nkurunziza last official tweet congratulated Ndayishimiye for his victory in the May elections.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay