Burundi’s Nkurunziza appoints new cabinet

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza appoints new cabinet following attempted coup

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza

Updated Aug 26, 2015

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza appointed a new cabinet after being sworn in last week for a controversial third term as president.

The new government is composed of 19 ministries, five of which were given to female ministers.

Seven ministers retained their posts while twelve were replaced.

All key ministries remained in the hands of Nkurunziza’s ruling National Council for Defense of Democracy-Forces for Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).

Burundi has faced a political crisis since April, when the CNDD-FDD named Nkurunziza – in power since 2005 – its candidate for the presidency.

The opposition and civil society groups – saying Nkurunziza lacked the constitutional right to stand for a third term in office – had said they would not recognize the results of last month’s poll, which Nkurunziza won despite an opposition boycott.

Since then, Burundi has witnessed a spate of violent attacks, especially in capital Bujumbura, sparking fears that the country could plunge into fresh conflict.  

In May, several top generals attempted to lead a coup against Nkurunziza while he was in Tanzania to attend a regional summit. 

The coup attempt ultimately failed, however, and the generals involved fled to neighboring Rwanda, from where they have since vowed to continue opposing the Nkurunziza regime.

Recent weeks have seen several attacks in the capital, both on government officials and opposition figures.

Only one week after Nkurunziza’s electoral victory last month, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana – the country’s powerful spy chief and a Nkurunziza ally – was killed in Bujumbura.

And in mid-August, Col. Jean Bikomagu, Burundi's former army chief-of-staff, was killed in his home by unidentified attackers.

According to local NGOs, at least 130 people, mostly opposition politicians, have been killed since the country’s political turbulence began in April.