Burundi Swears In New President, Evariste Ndayishimiye
(Photo by TCHANDROU NITANGA/AFP via Getty Images)

Evariste Ndayishimiye, Burundi's elected President from the ruling party, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy - Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD), attends the swearing-in ceremony at Ingoma stadium in Gitega, Burundi, on June 18, 2020. - Ndayishimiye rapidly sworn in following the sudden death of President Pierre Nkurunziza, aged 55, came after the May election.

Burundi's new leader was sworn in during a fast-tracked ceremony, following the sudden death of former president Pierre Nkurunziza.

Burundi's new president Evariste Ndayishimiye's has been sworn in two months early, following the death of former president Pierre Nkurunziza last week due to heart failure.

Ndayishimiye's was elected president in May, and is the country's first new Head of State in 15 years. Nkurunziza, who was accused of various human rights offenses during his time in office, was slated to step down in August. He had been in office since 2005. Both Ndayishimiye and his predecessor were former rebel leaders, and they were close colleagues.


Perhaps due to coronavirus restrictions, as well as the country's strained diplomatic ties, foreign heads of state were not present for the ceremony which took place on Thursday, reports BBC Africa.Reporters on the ground say that social distancing measures were not followed during the event.

In a speech delivered at the ceremony, the new leader promised to "devote all my force to defending the superior interests of the nation and ensure the national unity and cohesion of the Burundian people, peace and social justice."

Prior to becoming president, Ndayishimiye was the country's minister of the interior, later becoming the president's military adviser and then secretary-general of the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

Rights groups are hoping that Ndayishimiye will part with the ways of his predecessor. Estimates say that around 400,000 people fled the nation after Nkurunziza took on a highly-contested third term in 2015, which led to protests and a failed coup,

Burundian activists fought widespread political violence and censorship during his presidency, and organized through social media.

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