Burundi’s constitutional court to decide interim leader after the president's death

The government of Burundi says the country’s constitutional court will decide who takes over as interim leader after the sudden death of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

President Pierre Nkurunziza

This was contained in a statement issued by the government of Burundi.

The constitution of the country demands that the speaker of the House takes over. However, it is currently uncertain as to who is in charge.

The government announced President Nkurunziza’s death on Tuesday. The 55-year-old died of a heart attack although it was not clear which day he died.

Nkurunziza was due to hand over power in August to President-elect Evariste Ndayishimiye.

He contested for the election on the ticket of the governing party last month.

A statement from the cabinet said they decided at an extraordinary cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the constitutional court should guide the country and “show modalities of filling the post.”

Most people have been keen to see whether Burundi’s powerful cabal of army generals and security chiefs who supported Nkurunziza during his 15-year rule would remain united over the succession.

Nkurunziza was a former rebel leader whose rule was marked by widespread brutality and repression against his opponents. The economy is also in tatters after donors, whose aid was a key source of government revenue, shunned it amid the human rights violations.

The government is yet to announced a date for Nkurunziza’s burial.

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