OPEN SECRET: Plans by President Nkurunziza to stay in power beyond 2020

Sources within the Burundian presidency have revealed to The Great Lakes Eye that President Nkurunziza intends to exploit the current political and economic crisis in Burundi to remain in power beyond 2020.

To confirm Nkurunziza’s unwillingness to organize elections, his government has been collecting funds from poor peasants purportedly to supplement elections budget but reliable sources indicate that the collected funds are being used to support the distressed government budget and the elections are just used as a cover to extract funds from the poor Burundians. One also wonders why the exact amount of the collected funds has never been announced to date leave alone the government’s failure to announce the budget for the elections itself.

As further confirmation that President Nkurunziza has no plan of holding the 2020 elections, President Nkurunziza has been continuously rescheduling his party’s national congress since July 2018 up to now for tactical reasons. The congress was aimed at nominating a single and consensual candidate to represent CNDD/FDD in 2020 presidential elections.

Although Nkurunziza’s fear to hold elections hinges on internal divisions based on regionalism within the party, sources indicate that he is also scared by Agathon Rwasa’s National Congress of Liberation (CNL) new political party that seems to have attracted a huge base of supporters than previously anticipated. CNL threat to CNDD FDD is the main source of insecurity for members of CNL, who are regularly threatened, tortured and killed all over Burundi by Imbonerakure and other security organs.

In order to retain power and avoid further divisions within CNDD FDD as it happened in 2005 when many of its members turned against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term, the latter has opted for creating chaos along the border with Rwanda and open support to Rwandan armed groups (MRCD, RNC/P5, FDLR) expecting Rwanda’s retaliation in pursuit of its enemies inside Burundi. Consequently, Pierre Nkurunziza would have got a good pretext of declaring a State of Emergency in order to postpone the 2020 presidential elections.

Meanwhile, although in mid-2018 President Nkurunziza officially announced that he will not be a presidential candidate in the 2020 elections, his current strategy is to continue dividing his potential adversaries like Gen Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Gen Bizimana Godefroid, Gen Ndirakobuca Gervais (Ndakugarika), Gen Prime Niyongabo, Gen Ntakarutimana Etienne (Steve), Gen Silas Ntigurirwa, Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye and Pascal Nyabenda, between themselves while positioning himself as the only viable Presidential candidate for 2020 elections.

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