Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has sacked his defense, foreign affairs and trade ministers five days after surviving an attempted coup by generals opposed to his bid for a third term in office.
However the president’s spokesman has denied that the dismissal of the ministers was linked to the failed coup attempt.
The sackings are said to be the first signs of friction inside Nkurunziza’s administration after the attempted coup, which intensified fears that a political crisis may be spiraling out of control in Burundi which may largely affect the entire Great Lakes region.
Meanwhile fresh protests resumed in Burundi with protesters taking to the streets in the capital on Monday for the first time since the failed coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza last week.
Although surviving the coup may have strengthened his position in the short term, the appointment of his main spokesman’s brother as foreign minister suggests Nkurunziza may be running out of confidantes.
This will be the first time that a civilian will be in charge of the defense docket.
The constitution and a peace deal that ended the civil war both specify a two-term presidential limit. Nkurunziza is seeking a third term, relying on a court ruling that his first term does not count because he was appointed by parliament, not elected in a popular vote.
Some 300,000 people died in a Burundian civil war that ended in 2005. Neighboring Rwanda, which shares a similar ethnic mix between a Hutu majority and Tutsi minority, is still recovering from a 1994 genocide in which 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis and moderate Hutus, were killed.