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Burundi’s First Lady Struggles To Fit In

Political pundits in Burundi are observing a bizzare situation under which the First Lady is seemingly fighting to rise against the protruding shadow of the former First Lady.

Former First Lady Denise Nkurunziza continues to appear in very important events. Conferences for women, crusades of prayers, all of this framed by a protocol and security to make you green with envy. On the other hand, the authentic first lady, Angéline Ndayishimiye is timidly taking her place. But the beginnings are always difficult, one will say.

The ruling powers continue to give them two places for reasons, to say the least, different but obviously which give an interpretation subject to reflection.

Mrs. Ndayishimiye, as the wife of the head of state, embodies the status of the First Lady. She officiates certain ceremonies such as media outings, declarations that resemble positions that are sometimes incompatible with the general policies of the country. Since her husband’s investiture, a trip has taken her to the Emirates. No one could take this place away from him. She is the first lady, unique, legal and legitimate.

For Denise Nkurunziza, the After the death of her husband Pierre Nkurunziza, a smooth transition was discreetly ensured, decided perhaps at the highest summit of the system to show gratitude to the works of the late president and to comfort the Nkurunziza family in the worst times.

After 15 years alongside her late husband as head of the executive, she is not the personality Burundians are ready to throw away, let alone the CNDD-FDD system. With her title of pastor of the Church of the Rock, she continues the family business.

She is present in national events such as the launching of the torch of peace, in the international conference of women leaders, in its 2nd edition. She remains at the head of the Buntu Foundation with a radio station that broadcasts over much of the country. It is there in all cases without bothering anyone. Some go so far as to say that she should receive the benefits voted in favour of her husband who had just finished his term. Except that the law does not allow it, at least for now.

It is important therefore for the first lady Ndayishimiye to push and make a name for herself.

Pundits argue that the communications team around the new first lady needs to do its job properly. The start of each reign has exposed some prominent figures to their ability to interact with the public through the media. The first mandate of the CNDD-FDD has left its mark. Adapting some leaders has been hard work. Some have not changed despite their longevity in the management of the country’s affairs.

Adapted from Yaga-Burundi

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