After new President of Burundi Evariste Ndayishimiye was sworn in early following the sudden death of his predecessor, he promised to unite the country that has been cut off by the intrnaiotnal aid donors due to endemic human rights abuses.
Ndayishimiye, 52, a retired army general, was declared the last month’s presidential election winner as the ruling party’s candidate, defeating the opposition’s Agathon Rwasa and five others. In accordance with the procedures, he had been due to take office in August, but the sudden death of Pierre Nkurunziza this month opened his way forward.
“I will defend Burundi’s sovereignty and ensure freedom of every Burundian citizen and protection,” Ndayishimiye said at the ceremony in Gitega – the political capital of the country.
New President urged people who had fled the country, including critics of politics and human rights activists, to return.
“What did those who went to complain to the world, get? I rather call on them to come back,” Ndayishimiye said.
Ndayishimiye headed the department of military affairs under late President Nkurunziza, and served as minister of the interior and security.
The United Nations said in recent years that under Nkurunziza’s rule members of the state security forces and the ruling party’s youth wing routinely gang-raped, tortured and killed political opponents.
Burundi, the nation of 11 million people is one of the world’s poorest countries. It became an international pariah after Nkurunziza crushed protests triggered by his decision to run for a third term in 2015.