A special Cabinet meeting is underway at Ntare House in Bujumbura during which the Burundian government will discuss the country’s future after the death of outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The meeting which started at 8:00am is being chaired by First Vice President, Gaston Sindimwo.
An official told ChimpReports on Thursday morning that Cabinet will discuss the funeral arrangements for Nkurunziza, 55.
The date for Nkurunziza’s burial is yet to be set.
The Cabinet will further discuss the transition of power to president-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye, who won the May 20 election.
All indications are that Ndayishimiye will be inaugurated by close of next week.
The swearing-in ceremony was scheduled for August 20.
The opposition led by Agathon Rwasa challenged the election results in the Constitutional Court, citing electoral malpractices.
However, the Court refused to nullify the election, saying Rwasa didn’t provide sufficient evidence to back up his claims.
Nevertheless, the unexpected death of Nkurunziza has sparked fears of a possible political crisis.
But a top diplomat and close associate of Nkurunziza and Ndayishimiye, said “all is well. The entire country is in peace. We will get through this challenging period.”
Nkurunziza, according to government, succumbed to a cardiac arrest.
He fell ill on Saturday after watching a volleyball match before his condition rapidly deteriorated and died two days later.
Asked about reports that Nkurunziza died of Coronavirus, the diplomat observed:
“There is some investigation going on.”
Regarding reports that Burundi First Lady Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza was admitted at Nairobi’s Aga Khan Hospital for treatment of Coronavirus, our source noted: “That’s not what I was told. She has had a terrible ulcer for many years.”
This information was corroborated by multiple Ugandan medical and government officials who said Ms Nkurunziza regularly traveled through Entebbe International Airport to Dubai for treatment of the ulcer.
Ms Nkurunziza returned to Burundi on Monday night on a chartered aircraft.
Her condition had significantly improved.
“She is very okay. She was in good health when she went back,” said a relative of the First Lady.
Unconfirmed reports that Ms Nkurunziza was treated for COVID-19 in Nairobi created an impression that the President succumbed to the same disease.
Burundian government has been under fire for disregarding World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations on physical distancing to prevent COVID-19 spread during the electoral campaign.
Government expelled four officials from WHO, declaring them persona non grata and ordering them to leave the country.
Burundi has so far registered 83 cases of COVID-19 with two deaths.
Meanwhile, Burundi government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye has dismissed claims that Domitillie Minani, the mother of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza passed away on Wednesday.
He said the elderly Minani was “unwell but she is not dead.”
Several countries across the world have sent their condolences to the people of Burundi over the president’s death.
“The United States extends its condolences to those mourning the loss of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. We remain a committed partner and friend to the Burundian people,” Washington said in a statement on June 10.
“Following a peaceful transition to President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye, we look forward to working with him and the new government. We reaffirm our support for Burundi’s aspirations for a more democratic, prosperous, peaceful future.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “Burundi and all of Africa have lost a leader who was devoted to people-centered sustainable development, self-reliance, the sovereignty of his people and country, as well as peace on the Continent.”
He added: “It was under the leadership of President Nkurunziza that Burundi became one of the major troop contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia. Burundi also deployed troops in the Central African Republic.”