Portrait of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza pictured above.

The portrait of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza who died at the age of 55 is set on an altar during the memorial service by Burundi's ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), at CNDD-FDD headquarters in Bujumbura on June 11, 2020.

Photo by TCHANDROU NITANGA/AFP via Getty Images.

Burundi Temporarily Bans Secular Music During Mourning of Nkurunziza

Burundi has banned the playing of secular music in public spaces for a period of 7 days following the recent death of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The Burundian government has announced a temporary ban on the playing of secular music in public places. This comes amid the 7-day mourning period now underway for the late President Pierre Nkurunziza. Nkurunziza died suddenly from heart failure this past Monday although there has been speculation that the head-of-state died from the coronavirus.

READ: A Letter From Mr. Burundi: "How Can We Talk About Political Dialogue When Innocent Civilians Are Dying?"

State radio stations and private broadcasters have all reportedly been playing gospel music in light of the recent ban. According to the BBC, both the mayor of Bujumbura, Freddy Mbonimpa and thegovernor of Gitega, Venant Manirambona, confirmed that gospel music or songs "praising God" were permitted in public spaces such as bars, hair salons, restaurants and even people's cars. This is supposedly in honour of Nkurunziza, who was an evangelical Christian.

Nkurunziza, who was in office for 15 years, leaves behind a tarnished legacy with many having accused him of "suppressing political opponents, censorship and carrying out various human rights abuses throughout his extended presidency," OkayAfrica's Damola Durosomo writes.

Last year, three Burundian schoolgirls were arrested and charged with "insulting the head of state" after they allegedly drew on a picture of Nkurunziza in their textbooks. Rights activist Lewis Mudgecommented on the matter saying, "With so many real crimes being committed in Burundi, it's tragic that children are the ones being prosecuted for harmless scribbles." Naturally, the sheer absurdity of the schoolgirls' arrests angered social media users and had folks posting pictures of the now late president with their own doodles in protest.

Just last month, Burundians headed to the polls to vote in the national election despite health concerns surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.