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Burundi president named ‘Eternal Supreme Guide’ by Ruling Party

Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza has been named as ‘eternal supreme guide’ by the ruling party.

The move means no one in the governing CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy) is allowed to disagree with his choices, according to the party’s secretary-general Evariste Ndayishimiye said.

“He is our leader. Therefore, in our party… no one is comparable to him,” Mr Ndayishimiye said.

“He is our parent, he is the one who advises us.

That is why I ask all our members to respect that because a home without the man (its head) can be overlooked by anybody.

For us, we have the best.”

But critics say a cult of personality is developing around 54-year-old Mr. Nkurunziza.

The new title has been bestowed just months ahead of a national referendum which could end with Mr. Nkurunziza getting permission to rule until 2034.

A constitutional referendum will be held in Burundi in May 2018.

The proposed changes would reintroduce the post of Prime Minister and reduce the number of Vice-President from two to one. They also involve increasing the presidential term from five to seven years but restricting a president to two consecutive terms. However, the amendments would also allow incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza, in office since 2005, to stand for re-election, despite having already served three terms.

He is already serving a controversial third term in office.

His re-election led to violence in the streets in 2015, leaving more than 1,000 people dead and displacing hundreds of thousands.

#AFP

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