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Heroes Day: Nkurunziza: We are Ready to Defend Burundi

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has said his country is prepared for “action” if attacked, Chimp Corps report.

“Whoever dares fighting Burundi will receive a very good reception,” said Nkurunziza.

“Do you remember those who attempted to destabilize us?” he added.

Nkurunziza spoke Saturday at an event capping week-long activities commemorating the country’s heroes.

The annual event was held at Mageyo in Mubimbi Commune, Bujumbura Province on Sunday.

Nkurunziza’s warning comes just a month after government troops killed dozens of rebel Red Tabara movement fighters as they tried to launch an incursion in the Bubanza Province, about 112 kilometers from the capital, Gitega.

Burundi has for the last few years witnessed stability across the country after government forces defeated an attempted coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Nkurunziza later blamed Rwanda for financing and organizing the coup while he was attending a meeting in Tanzania, a claim Kigali dismissed as diversionary.

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The opposition attributed the chaos to Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.

Speaking to thousands of people at the event in Mageyo, Nkurunziza said his government was focusing more on delivery of public services.

“For now, we are fighting to eradicate poverty,” said Nkurunziza.

Th event attracted people from all walks of life(Courtesy photos)

He reiterated that 80 percent of the national budget ($825m) was being financed by the state.

He said Burundi should in the next three years be able to fully finance its budget without seeking support from donors.

Burundi’s general elections are scheduled for May 20, 2020, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Polls

Election campaigns started on April 27, 2020, ending on May 17.

Agathon Rwasa, president of the National Freedom Council (CNL), has since declared his presidential bid.

Nkurunziza’s party, CNDD-FDD, is yet to announce is flag-bearer.

In September, Ezechiel Nibigira, Minister of Foreign Affairs, told the UN General Assembly that Government was wary of, and would not tolerate, any outside interference in the polls.

Mr. Nibigira declared that there is an increasingly favourable climate for free, transparent and calm election, and warned that any attempt by other countries to interfere with the elections would be an attack on Burundi’s sovereignty.

He also alleged that “foreign actors” were attempting to destabilize Burundi ahead of the elections; support those who attempted a coup against President Nkurunziza in 2015; and distract the people of Burundi from the core matter of the elections, and the implementation of a national development plan.

However, human rights groups have since criticized Burundi’s human rights record, calling upon the leaders to uphold civil liberties and open up political space.

Officials say Nkurunziza has since allowed new political parties to operate and announced his decision not to stand in the 2020 polls.

He also released more than 2,000 prisoners since the beginning of the year as part of reforms aimed at creating a conducive atmosphere for the next elections.

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