Evariste Ndayishimiye: AfroAmerica Network Black Man of Year 2020

General Evariste Ndayishimiye sworn in as President of Burundi, June 18, 2020

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 General Evariste Ndayishimiye is one of the freedom fighters who liberated Burundians from years of oppression. He is the current President of  Burundi.  Democratically elected on May 20, 2020, he was initially due to take office on August 20, 2020 at the end of his predecessor Pierre Nkurunziza' s  term. The sudden death of the latter on June 8, 2020 at the age of 55 after 15 years in power changed the situation. General Evariste Ndayishimiye, was sworn in on Thursday June 18, 2020, becoming the 10th President to rule the country, but only the second to be democratically elected. 

 When he became president,  General Evariste Ndayishimiye reassured the Burundian people and the World: "Do not be afraid because I know what awaits me. I come to strengthen the independence and sovereignty of Burundi, the freedom of all Burundians and to protect them in their dignity. Let the international community no longer interfere in these kinds of issues as it used to do for other reasons, because that is my concern."

 He also called on the refugees, especially those in the neighboring countries,  to come back:  "come back if you want and we are here to listen to you "

 He put forward an ambitious development and social agenda, including education, healthcare, energy, job creation, and many more. 

To implement his ambitious agenda, General Evariste Ndayishimiye formed a new cabinet,  hailed as a major step forward across Africa: small and targeted, and hence, expected to be more efficient and effective. His  government also had a unique first: among the ministers were Ms. Imelde Sabushimike, the first ethnic Twa woman to be part of a government in Africa (see AfroAmerica Network here: Imelde Sabushimike, First Twa Woman in a Government in Africa : Burundi makes history)

Twa, also known as Batwa in plural, is a minority ethnic group, present in the countries of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda. They have, in general, been marginialized by other tribes, and pushed to remaining hunter-gatherers, most of the time in the rain forests or potters. Hence, they were partially absorbed or displaced by later immigrations of other peoples and tribes. Even in recent years, as Africa countries developed, the BaTwa were mostly ignored and sidelined, and did not benefit from education, economy, and government policies. With very few getting education, they could not reach high government or corporation posts, and even less, occupy Government cabinet ministers in any of the countries of the region.

With Imelde Subushimike as Minister,  General Ndayishimiye started the change to promote Twa people and other margilized groups, in general.

Evariste Ndayishimiye, 52 years old, was born 1968 in Giheta, Burundi. He attended the University of Burundi, where he began the studies of law. He was still studying in 1995 when Hutu students were massacred as part of the inter-ethnic violence which accompanied the Burundian Civil War (1993–2005). He fled and joined the rebels, known as National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy (Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie, CNDD–FDD). He rose up the ranks of the CNDD-FDD during the civil war, leading the military operations and gaining the nickname "Neva", for his bravery.


@AfroAmerica Network, 2020