The referendum to change Burundi’s constitution is taking place in a climate of fear and intimidation. This has been characterized by national and international observers as nothing other than a power grab by the current Prierre Nkurunziza. This year, he was named by his political party the Supreme Eternal Leader. The political ambition expressed in this new title is obviously autocratic, according to the opposition, political analysts and human rights groups . This did not come as a surprise to many Burundi observers. In fact, after serving two five terms Nkurunziza refused that the first five years of his presidency should count toward his first term because he was elected president by the parliament instead of popular votes.
The Arusha Agreement which brought Nkurunziza to power was the first step to political order, rule of law and stability. At the time of his election in August 2005 and in the light of the Arusha negotiations, Pierre Nkurunziza’s presidency was seen as the hope for an end to centuries of ethnic violence between the Hutu and Tutsi. Tensions between these groups date back as far as the 1400s. Nkurunziza is the first Burundian President elected president to serve a full term and beyond because of history of military coups. Read more here. Read the constitution here