Burundi’s President-elect, Gen. Evariste Ndayishimiye, is undergoing a rigorous facelift aimed at cleaning his image to fit the person of president and fountain of honour in Burundi.
The public relations apparatus of the government of Burundi and the ruling party, CNDD-FDD, have swung into action and for the next five years we shall continue seeing drastic changes in branding of the new President.
Architects of Burundi public relations want to present the new leader as a family man, God fearing and associating him with the peasants. There is a complete shift away from elitism.
Gen. Ndayishimiye is not known to Burundi’s neighbours but has been solely behind the outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza.
He was responsible for defence operations in President Nkurunziza’s office.
He is unknown to the outside word passes as a gentleman – he served as the Minister of the Interior and Public Security from 2006 to 2007.
This was after the former rebel group took over power in 2005.
The plan to assemble and unleash Imbonerakure militia was Gen. Ndayishimiye’s idea.
Almost every dissenting voice in Burundi has tasted the wrath of this armed ruthless militia that is so efficient enforcing ruling party authority.
Several opposition politicians in Burundi have disappeared and discovered dead at the hands of the Imbonerakure militia that have always worked on orders from Gen. Ndayishimiye in the president’s office.
Since Gen. Ndayishimiye has also been serving as the secretary General of the ruling CNDD-FDD party- he wielded more powers only second to the President.
The new President told the American state Broadcaster VOA that he wants to mend relations with regional member states and bring back Burundi as a functional and active member.
Rwanda would definitely be waiting to see Gen. Ndayishimiye’s first moves in addressing matters of cross border trade, movement of goods and people and of course security.
Burundi actively and openly works with Rwandan rebels the FDLR- Kigali would wait to see what steps this new president will take in fixing such a delicate question.
Analysts argue that Gen. Ndayishimiye is likely to become extra lethal and extremist in nature as regards handling issues relating to regional security since he is the architect of the most recent actions that further deteriorated relations with DRC and Rwanda.
For Burundi to return to table with other regional members and win acceptance and respect from Rwanda, Gen. Ndayishimiye may have to remove all his forces from DRC, denounce FDLR and open the border with Rwanda.