Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has on Wednesday 22nd chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss his retirement package and role after he leaves office later this year.
Under a new law passed On Tuesday by Parliament, Nkurunziza will be given a special status in society with title of “Guide du Patriotisme” or “Patriotism Guide,” along with other benefits to be given to him and some former leaders.
While launching a new constitution that extended the length of a presidential term from five years to seven in 2018, Nkurunziza said he would not run again but the comment was received with scepticism by some observers.
At the time, Nkurunziza declared that he would support whoever is selected in 2020 and added that “a man can change his position in bed but he cannot change his word.”
On 26th December last year, Nkuruzinza told reporters, he will not run for another term and that he planned to hold another press conference “before handing power to our successor.”
Since he first announced he is not standing again, a number of laws have been put in place to make sure he is protected.
As the Patriotism Guide, Nkurunziza will be in his own category of former Burundian President who came to power through election.
Another former president to get this kind of retirement package is Melchior Ndadaye who won land mark elections in 1993, but was ousted and assassinated three months later in coup.
Under the new law, Nkurunziza and Ndadaye’s family will get $555,000. It will be a one-off payement. They will also have a house built for them anywhere in the country.
The ruling CNDD-FDD party top political organ meets this Sunday, at a Congress where Nkurunziza’s successor is expected to be elected. No obvious names have been put forward, suggesting Nkurunziza’s choice could be a huge surprise.
According to sources, the delegates are expected to choose from General Evariste Ndayishimiye the party Secretary-General and Colonel Gabriel Nizigama, with the former expected to win with a landslide victory.