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Burundi President Dies at 55

The outgoing President of Burundi since 2005 President Pierre Nkurunziza has died .President passed on yesterday at Karusi hospital after suffering a heart attack on June 8.  The government of Burundi on Tuesday announced the “unexpected” death of President Pierre Nkurunziza. He was 55.

The cause of Pierre Nkurunziza’s death was described as a heart attack in a government statement. The 55-year-old was due to stand down in August following elections last month.

Nkurunziza had recently agreed to step down after a 15-year rule characterized by brutal crackdowns and economic stagnation. His chosen successor won an election last month that was marred by irregularities. The official cause of death was cardiac arrest.

According to the country’s constitution, the president of the legislature should take control of the government until the inauguration of election winner Évariste Ndayishimiye, set for Aug. 20.

The government’s statement on Nkurunziza’s death said he had been well enough Saturday to assist during a volleyball match in his home district of Ngozi but was admitted to a hospital in a neighboring district Sunday. His condition improved Sunday night but took a sudden turn Monday when he suffered a heart attack.

The statement asked people to remain calm and announced seven days of mourning.

Nkurunziza’s wife, Denise, was airlifted to Nairobi 10 days ago and is being treated for symptoms of the novel coronavirus, according to Kenyan media reports. Health officials in Kenya and Burundi have not commented on whether the president had been tested for the virus.

In the lead-up to last month’s election, Nkurunziza’s government expelled the World Health Organization’s representative in Burundi after he raised concerns about large election rallies. Burundi’s number of confirmed covid-19 cases remains low at 83, but testing for the coronavirus has been extremely limited.

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About Tafara Clayton Mushope

Photographer, intern journalist at ZimOnline News

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