The president of Burundi, Evariste Ndayishimiye, has raised an alarm over what he claims is a planned coup by some top officials in the country. In what is believed to be moved to curb the plots, he has sacked Prime Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni and cabinet chief General Gabriel Nizigama.
President Ndayishimiye made the announcement of the coup plot against him before announcing the sack of the top government officials.
The number one citizen of the landlocked country called for an emergency parliamentary session, where lawmakers approved the appointment of security minister Gervais Ndirakobuca as the new prime minister of the country.
Lawmakers voted in a unanimous 113-0 poll to confirm Gervais Ndirakobuca as the new prime minister of the country, according to a report by the county’s national broadcaster, RTNB.
President Ndayishimiye, who claims there is an underground plan to stage a coup against him, has been in power for a little over two years.
“Do you think an army general can be threatened by saying they will make a coup? Who is that person? Whoever it is should come and, in the name of God, I will defeat him,” Ndayishimiye had warned at a meeting with top government officials.
Little did anyone know that the prime minister of the country was the official the president fingered to have a hand in the proposed plot. Mr. Bunyoni, who was the prime minister of the country, is a senior figure in the CNDD-FDD party. The CNDD-FDD is a former rebel group that has ruled the country for many years.
On the other hand, the cabinet chief General Gabriel Nizigama who was also relieved of his duties, was replaced by Colonel Aloys Sindayihebura. The Colonel was in charge of domestic intelligence within the National Intelligence Service before his new appointment.
There have been unconfirmed reports that there exists displeasure against the Ndayishimiye-led government in the country. You will recall that President Evariste Ndayishimiye took over power in 2020 after the sudden death of his predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza. The Burundian authorities attributed the death of the former leader to heart failure.
Before his election in 2020, Mr. Ndayishimiye had promised the people to put an end to the crisis encountered in the past regime.
Former president Nkurunziza had launched a crackdown on political opponents in 2015 that left 1,200 people dead and made Burundi a global pariah. The turmoil erupted after Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office, despite concerns over the legality of such a move.
According to confirmed reports, the United States and the European Union had imposed sanctions over the unrest that also sent 400,000 people fleeing the country, with reports of arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, and enforced disappearances.
Earlier this year, both resumed aid flows to the landlocked nation of 12 million people after easing the 2015 sanctions.
Civil society groups have returned, the BBC is allowed to broadcast again, and the EU — Burundi’s largest foreign donor — has commended efforts to fight corruption.
Ndirakobuca, the newly appointed premier, was among those sanctioned in 2015 by the United States for “silencing those opposed” to Nkurunziza’s third term bid.
However, despite the significant improvements in sanctions, there is very little success in human rights protection.
The president’s warnings of a proposed coup are not new to those who follow the history of Burundi closely. The country’s history is littered with presidential assassinations, coups, ethnic massacres, and a long civil war that ended in 2006 and left some 300,000 dead.