Burundi’s ruling party on Sunday appointed Maj Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye as their presidential candidate for the May elections.
“CNDD-FDD is not taught about democracy but we are teaching others what democracy is,” Mr Ndayishimiye, the current secretary general, said during the party’s congress in Gitega.
President Pierre Nkurunziza is expected to step aside after the end of this mandate. On June 7, 2018, he announced that he would not contest in this year’s general elections after serving his five-year term ending mid this year.
“When I took oath in 2015 in front of the National Assembly I said that this was my last term and again I said it in June 2018…A real man doesn’t change his words but lives and stand by his words,” President Nkurunziza said on Sunday.
Kenya’s ruling party Secretary General Raphael Tuju lauded the president for keeping his word on term limits.
“You kept telling the international community that you will make a peaceful transition in Burundi...They didn’t believe in you but now I hope they do,” he said.
Burundi amended the country’s 2005 constitution in 2018 that would have allowed the incumbent to contest in this year’s presidential elections. According to the current constitution, Article 97 indicates that “the president of the republic is elected by direct universal suffrage for a renewable term of seven years. And no one may serve more than two consecutive terms.”
In 2015, President Nkurunziza’s move to run for another term in office sparked violence in the country as the opposition argued that he had violated the constitution.
“I think it was clear that the Constitutional Court said I legally contested in 2015 and even the East African Court of Justice came to the same conclusion,” President Pierre Nkurunziza said during the congress.
The 2005 constitution limited a president to run for no more than two terms in the office, however the constitutional court ruled in his favour, saying he did not violate the constitution as his first term in 2005 did not count because he was not elected directly by the people.