In the absence of a coup, which President Évariste Ndayishimiye said he was wary of on September 2, it is a real thunderclap that has just shaken Gitega and the microcosm of Burundian power. By announcing on the morning of September 7 the dismissal of his Prime Minister, Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, the Burundian head of state surprised his world.
The former general showed a very military tactical sense to get rid of the one who was considered his most serious rival since coming to power in May 2020, taking only a few hours to complete an operation, it seems, perfectly prepared. All Burundian parliamentarians thus received a message, late in the night of September 6, asking them to report at 8:30 a.m. at the Kigobe Palace, without further details. It is only once there that they learn that they have been summoned to ratify the Head of State’s decision to replace his Prime Minister.
Burundi: from normalization to papal blessing
The decree was then very quickly approved unanimously and by a show of hands by the 113 parliamentarians, beforebe immediately validated, again unanimously, by the Senate. The presidency could therefore formalize at the very beginning of the afternoon, in a most lapidary press release, the appointment to the prime ministership of Gervais Ndirakobuca, who within the hour was sworn in before the president and all of the two parliamentary chambers together.
If the amazement seems having been total at the time, Évariste Ndayishimiye’s decision was however expectede for a long time, as the gap between the head of state and his head of government was widening over the months. For many Burundian and foreign observers, Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, the highest-ranking police officer and strongman of the Burundian security apparatus for nearly fifteen years, had been placed in the Primature to keep President Ndayishimiye under close surveillance. , on behalf of the toughest fringe of the National Defense Council for Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD, in power). The two men have several times had the opportunity to show their disagreement on the issues of the fight against corruption or the liberalization of the economy, viewed with a dim view by a Prime Minister who is above all the guarantor of the system bequeathed by the former President Pierre Nkurunziza and of which he was one of the main cogs.
Burundi: Évariste Ndayishimiye, the party and God