The political rift in Burundi is about to fester after opposition officials criticised a legislation which they say was initiated in secrecy designed to entrench President Pierre Nkurunziza in power.
Under existing law, Burundian presidents are limited to two five-year terms but the cabinet secretly backed a constitutional change that would allow its president to stay in office until 2034.
“No one knew what was being done. It was done in total secrecy…we will always oppose it,” deputy president of the opposition FRODEBU party, Leonce Ngendakumana, told Reuters.
“The constitution should not be revised in a tense social climate.”
After Nkurunzi announced his third term bid in April 2015, Burundi has been thrown into turmoil with hundreds killed and the economy thrown into turmoil even as UN investigators and other right groups accuse the government of gross human rights abuses.
The development in Burundi now sees Nkurunziza join other African leaders who have tinkered with their constitutions in recent past to extend their rule, like Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila.
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