Burundi: Lawmakers approve “generous” retirement package for Nkurunziza

Lawmakers in Burundi on Wednesday approved legislation that will effectively hand outgoing president Pierre Nkurunziza a retirement package.

According to the legislation, the package includes a one-time payment of one billion Burundian francs, a luxury villa built with public funds in the location of his choice within five years and benefits equivalent to those of a serving vice-president for seven years after he steps down.

The legislation adopted with 98 votes for and two against also allows dormer president to receive a lifetime salary equal to that of a lawmaker.

President Nkurunziza is set to leave the presidency after the May 2020 elections, and his ruling CNDD-FDD party will select its candidate for the elections on Sunday.

In power since 2005, Nkurunziza surprised observers when he announced he would not seek another term in office, despite a new constitution in 2018 – adopted by referendum – allowing him to do so.

In 2015, Nkurunziza’s campaign for a third term plunged the country into violence and led to an enduring political crisis.

According to the UN report based on interviews with more than 500 witnesses, alleged perpetrators include top officials in Burundi’s National Intelligence Services and police force, military officials and members of the youth league of the ruling party, known as Imbonerakure. Thousands of people have fled the country.

The government also became the first country to withdraw from the International Criminal Court as the government rejected criticism of its actions.

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