The Burundi Human Rights Initiative

Évariste Ndayishimiye after he was chosen as the party’s candidate for the 2020 presidential election at its congress in Gitega on 26 January 2020. ©2020 Private
Évariste Ndayishimiye after he was chosen as the party’s candidate for the presidential election at its congress in Gitega on . © Private

Party loyalist or reformer?

The man who could become Burundi’s next president

Évariste Ndayishimiye, nicknamed Neva, is a man of many faces. A former rebel combatant, he has headed Burundi’s ruling party since mid- and may soon inherit the mantle of President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is due to stand down in after 15 years in power.

This briefing paper paints a portrait of Ndayishimiye and highlights the human rights challenges that await him if he wins the elections. Ndayishimiye’s past, and the circumstances in which he was chosen as the ruling party candidate, bind him intimately with powerful political and military actors, some of whom have committed serious crimes. Will he have the resolve to stand up to them and take a strong stand against human rights violations?

Despite the global corona virus pandemic, which could have devastating consequences in Burundi, the Burundian authorities have so far insisted that elections will go ahead as planned on , with the official campaign period beginning on .

The Burundi Human Rights Initiative (BHRI) has therefore decided to publish this paper in the hope that the information will prove useful during the coming months – a critical period for policy makers to adopt strategies to end Burundi’s human rights crisis.

The briefing paper entitled “Party loyalist or reformer? The man who could become Burundi’s next president” is available in English and French.