Nkurunziza loved, hated in equal measure – Kidum

The Burundi President died on Tuesday.

In Summary
  • Describes the President as a humble person.
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunzinza.
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunzinza.

Award-winning singer Jean-Pierre Nimbona, popularly called Kidum, is mourning Burundian President Pierre Nkurunzinza.

Nkurunzinza, 55, died of a heart attack on Tuesday, two months before he was to step down as President and days after he was hospitalised.

Speaking to Word Is, Kidum, now based in Nairobi, described Nkurunziza as a humble person.

“This one was tough when it got me and I am still in disbelief. It was only two months for him to hand over power so I’m still confused,” he said.

His death was announced by the Burundi government in a statement: “The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Karusi Fiftieth Anniversary Hospital following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020.”

Kidum said he was with Nkurunzinza in March last year and the President was in high spirit.

“We sat down somewhere in a basketball field and I have known him as a humble and down-to-earth person who interacted with many,” he said.

His message is we all die, regardless of our status in life.

“So it is very important to be humble. When one dies, its a warning to us who remain. The first people who are hurt are his family and so we need to stand with them,” Kidum said.

He cautioned the country opposition against celebrating Nkurunziza’s demise.

”Everyone is headed there and we will all die. To the family let them take heart and remain strong,” Kidum said.

Nkurunziza served as president of the central African country since 2005, including a controversial third term that critics said violated the country’s constitution.

Kidum said Nkurunziza was loved and hated in equal measure. He was banned from travelling out of his country.

“To his friends, he is a hero but to his enemy, he was probably an enemy which is normal to every human,” he said.