Following Edouard Nduwimana’s sensational statement announcing the candidacy of Pierre Nkurunziza for the 2015 elections, the momentum of the movement campaigning against this has intensified with unexpected vigour.-Translated by Diane Uwimana
Edouard Nduwimana was the first Mugumyabanga(member of the ruling party CNDD-FDD) to publicly announce the electoral ambitions of Pierre Nkurunziza.“My advice to politicians planning to be presidential candidates it is to prepare knowing that they will stand against the current president candidate,” declared the Minister of Home Affairs on 21 March 2014, after the proposed revision to the Constitution allowing him to do so was rejected.
Léonidas Hatungimana and Onésime Nduwimana, respectively the spokespersons of the President of the Republic and CNDD-FDD, the ruling party immediately rejected this. They announced that it was only the party congress who was empowered to appoint the candidate, and that this decision had at that time not been made.
In January 2015, Richard Nimbesha, a former senator from CNDD-FDD stated in a press release: “If he is running for another term, he will have stolen, he will disappoint Burundians, and he has lied.” He believed that other dignitaries shared his position against President Nkurunziza running for a further term; though at the time they had not yet spoken out. He also stated that he believed that many CNDD-FDD activists would not accept Nkurunziza re-standing. This former senator was promptly expelled from both the ruling party and from his position at the CNTB, the National Commission of lands and other belongings.
On 13 February 2015, a memorandum issued by the National Intelligence Service (SNR), warned the President against any attempt to seek a third term in power. This advised Pierre Nkurunziza to cede power after his second term for the good of himself, his family and his party, the CNDD-FDD. A few days after the release of this document, the Administrator General of the SNR, Major General Godefroid Niyombare, was dismissed. This, according to the SNR spokesman was a mere coincidence.
Revolters are discovered
During the night of 1st March 2015, Hussein Radjabu, the former president of the CNDD-FDD, who had been imprisoned by Pierre Nkurunziza eight years prior, dramatically escaped from the central prison of Mpimba. He later announced on a foreign radio station that high officials helped him to escape and he thanked fellows from the bush who also supported him. Radjabu stated that he has supporters in all institutions, even within security forces.
On 11 March 2015, Pascal Nyabenda, the current president of CNDD-FDD, announced on the BBC radio that, according to polls, the ‘Bagumyabanga’ (members of CNDD FDD) want to re-elect Pierre Nkurunziza in 2015.
The next day, the then party spokesman, Onésime Nduwimana, stated that there was no ‘survey – and the CNDD-FDD has other people who may be selected to represent them in the upcoming presidential elections.’
On 14 March 2015, the CNDD-FDD Council of Elders, the highest body of the party, met, and according to reports, “President Nkurunziza was very nervous.” At this meeting, this Council rejected the third term of the current Head of State.
On 23 March 2015, a statement signed by 17 executives of the CNDD-FDD and asking Pierre Nkurunziza not to stand for another term was made public. Leading those who signed this document were Leonidas Hatungimana, then spokesman for the President of the Republic and Onésime Nduwimana, then spokesman of CNDD-FDD. Just two days later, 10 of those signatories were sacked from their positions.
The President released a statement, written by Nyabenda accusing those removed from power of being of opponents of the government and of the CNDD-FDD party itself. This statement accused them of planning to destabilize the party and the country’s institutions.
The Senator Gélase Ndabirabe, who replaced Onésime Nduwimana, accused the Bagumyabanga of being unworthy of the party, stating:
ays after the first 17 signatories, more than 70 others officially added to the revolters. Among them are the Festus Ntanyungu, an MP and member of the CNDD-FDD of the Disciplinary Board. The reaction of the ruling party was to withdraw the security detail for some of the signatories.
The heralds of the candidacy
In 2013, a leading member of the Eagle’s party announced the ambition of President Nkurunziza to run for a third term.
1 .Pascal Nyabenda
The trial balloon: On 7 September 2013, Pascal Nyabenda was on stage in Gatumba, celebrating the third anniversary of President Nkurunziza’s second term in office.
Nyabenda announced that in 2005, President Nkurunziza was elected by the National Assembly and the Senate assembled in congress and therefore he had only been elected only once by the Burundian people. Hestated that the President would therefore be entitled to run for a further term as he would be elected for only the second time by the population voting for him directly.
Now, Pascal Nyabenda heads the campaign for Nkurunziza’s third term. In an interview with the BBC, he stated that the “Bagumyabanga” swore that they would not participate in the elections if Pierre Nkurunziza was not a candidate.
2. Edouard Nduwimana
On 21 March 2014, after the rejection of the constitutional review project, Edouard Nduwimana, the Minister of Home Affairs, stated that those who have ambitions to take part in the presidential election will stand against Pierre Nkurunziza, the current president.
3. Joseph Ntakarutimana
On Sunday, 22 March, Joseph Ntakarutimana, the Vice President of the ruling party announced the nomination of Pierre Nkurunziza in Rumonge, in the presence of a delegation from the ANC, the ruling party in South Africa.
Support of Imbonerakure
For two weeks, voices from the grassroots, especially Imbonerakure have been openly calling for the nomination of Nkurunziza.
On Sunday, 8 March, Imbonerakure from Nyamurenza, Ngozi and Gashikanwa, three communes of Ngozi province marched on the streets chanting slogans calling for Pierre Nkurunziza to re-present himself. Similar reports came from the Imbonerakure from Maramvya – Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province.
On Wednesday, 25 March, in Bubanza province, a hundred Imbonerakure people gathered at the Provincial Party Headquarters, and demonstrated at the Governor’s office. They requested an explanation of the signature of the Governor on the document sent to the President of the Republic advising him not to stand. The Imbonerakure were requested to leave by the Police, but they then made to the Governor’s home, though he was not there. Later, Juvenal Havyarimana, president of the CNDD FDD, denied all reports of a demonstration march.
“The guard was withdrawn”
According to Festus Ntanyungu all those who signed against the President have had their security guards removed: “Four police officers that ensured my safety were removed on Thursday morning.” Apparently, this was under orders from the police superiors. “I praised my police that I liked and they left in tears,” he stated. According to Ntanyungu, the guards should categorically not have been removed without following any procedure.
Nyabenda Pascal, chairman of the CNDD-FDD was unavailable for comment when IWACU contacted him.
Liboire Bakundukize, the police spokesman stated that the guards were withdrawn because they were needed for other positions to secure the elections, however he was unable to provide an example of where this had happened with someone who was not a signatory on the document against the President.
Liboire Bakundukize did advise that the police provide a guard to anyone who requests it by writing, though states that they were other needs become urgent, they are attended to. When questioned on the safety of those left without guards, the police spokesman was evasive:” They know who they should address to. »