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Meet Burundi's new 'humble' and 'religious' leader

Burundi's president-elect, 52-year-old Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is expected to be sworn in Thursday, is highly regarded as a "humble" and "religious" man.

He was among the "most influential" generals since 2005 when his close friend and colleague in rebellion, Pierre Nkurunziza took power.

Mr Ndayishimiye, commonly known in Burundi as Neva - possibly a combination of his names - was born in 1968 in Gitega province, the current political capital of Burundi.

Mr Ndayishimiye was a law student in the University of Burundi, when the civil war erupted in 1993, following the assassination of the first democratically elected president of Burundi Melchior Ndadaye.

Like his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza, in 1995, Mr Ndayishimiye survived assassination on Hutu students at his campus in the then capital Bujumbura. He fled the country and joined the rebel force that was formed to fight the then Tutsi-led government.

Mr Ndayishimiye supported and closely worked with Pierre Nkurunziza during the Arusha peace talks between the government and the FDD rebels.

Following the 2003 peace accord that saw FDD rebels share the power with the government, Mr Ndayishimiye deputised the then army chief of Burundi, his colleague Nkurunziza took interior ministry.

In 2006 he was named minister of the interior before he was appointed to be the military advisor of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Ten years later, Mr Ndayishimiye was made secretary-general of the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) until January 2020 when the late Mr Nkurunziza picked him as his successor.

Mr Ndayishimiye, a father of six, is known as a practising roman catholic, who also embraces the ideology of his predecessor of "emphasising on God" in politics.

The new president is taking over a country that is diplomatically isolated and which no good relations with donors.

His predecessor was accused of presiding over a government that carried out grave human rights violations and a crackdown on the opposition, journalists and activists. He also downplayed the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the failed coup attempt in 2015, thousands of Burundians have fled the country and into refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

Source: bbc.com

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