Nkurunziza warns against a new coup attempt in Burundi

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza suggests growing protests are coup attempt

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Addressing his supporters in his hometown in the north of Burundi, President Pierre Nkurunziza warned against a new attempt to try and unseat him, referring to growing protests in the country, AFP has reported.

Thanking his supporters for backing him after a top general launched a failed coup while the president was out of the country in May for a summit, Nkurunziza threatened any person who tries to take power by overthrowing elected institutions, saying "any such attempt will go nowhere.”

The crisis began in late April, in opposition to current President Nkurunziza's standing for election for a third term.

Opposition and rights groups claim that the president's third-term bid violates a constitutional two-term limit as well as a 2006 peace deal that ended a 13-year civil war.

More than 30 people have died since the protests began.

The constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority and a born-again Christian, and his supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.

Despite the demonstrations against his third term bid, Burundi's Constitutional Court approved his candidacy.

Burundi's parliamentary elections are currently scheduled to take place on June 5 while the presidential election is slated for June 26.

However, last week on Friday, the vice president of Burundi's election commission, Spes Caritas Ndironkeye left the central African nation on a flight for neighbouring Rwanda, associates said, adding that she had left behind a letter of resignation.

"What has happened is a catastrophe, but it was inevitable," another commission source said.

"Technically, the Election Commission can continue to work with four out of five members. But if two have left, no decision can be taken and it will be impossible to replace them before June 5," the source said.

The UN Secretary General's Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq has made a call to postpone the upcoming elections. 

“We have had our own concerns about whether you can have safe, fair and inclusive elections in Burundi and we made clear what those are, Mr Djinnit is talking with a variety of different parties in Burundi, we have certainly been pleased that the parties are willing to talk to each other about how they can sort out their differences regarding this and that process is still underway but ultimately this is something that does need to be agreed among the parties and we need to make sure that however they agree on a course of action they can come to an agreement that will ensure that any elections that are held are safe, are fair and are inclusive,” Haq said. 

Although several protest leaders have left the country, remaining opposition leaders in Burundi say a big protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza will be held in the country’s capital, Bujumbura, on Tuesday.

More than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring nations since the political violence that culminated in last week's foiled coup attempt erupted in April, according to the UN.

Cholera has claimed the lives of thirty-one Burundian refugees in camps in Tanzania,with 3,000 cases of the epidemic reported since last week, the UN refugee agency has said.

According to Al Jazeera, there are 50,000 refugees stranded on the shore of Lake Tanganyika, where cholera has spread.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that tens of thousands of refugees have fled from Burundi because of the civil disorder and the outbreak of diseases had become a "a new, worrying, and growing additional complication,” in Tanzania.

TRTWorld and agencies