Ex-Burundian president, Pierre Buyoya, ten days ago tabled in his resignation from the African Union (AU) special envoy. Mr. Buyoya confirmed his resignation to AFP but did not give any reasons for his actions. He is to hold a press conference in the near future to explain his decision.
A senior AU Commission official admitted AU had accepted the former president’s resignation with a good heart.
“His resignation was accepted with great gratitude for the excellent work done on behalf of the African Union,” said the Commission official.
How Pierre Buyoya came to power
In 1993, Melchior Ndadaye, defeated Buyoya in the Burundi presidential elections, consequently becoming Burundi’s first freely elected president.
Tutsi soldiers ambushed and killed ndadaye together with several of his cabinet ministers, just a few months after he won the elections, leading to the eruption of a civil war.
Ndadaye was then succeeded by Cyprien Ntaryamira, who belonged to Ndadye’s FRODEBU party, the then-largest political party in Burundi.
In 1994, Ntaryamira met his untimely death in a plane crash in Rwanda.
Buyoya, a Tutsi, then became president from 1996 to 2003 after a successful military coup.
In October 2020, Burundi’s top court slapped Buyoya with a life imprisonment verdict in absentia. An international arrest warrant had earlier been issued against Buyoya in November 2018.
Along with 18 others convicted of the murder of Ndadaye, ex-president Buyoya rejected the judgments made by the Burundian court.
Burundian judiciary accused the latter of “attacking the head of state, attacking the authority of the state, and the attack bringing about massacre and devastation.”
The former head of state argued that the entire judgment was a “sham” and was “purely political” saying that defense lawyers were denied access to the case files.
Those convicted were also instructed to pay a collective fine of $53 million, which is an equivalent of 103 billion Burundian Francs.
The AU is yet to comment on the October 20 conviction.
Resignation is to focus on his case
Speaking to the AFP, a senior AU official said Buyoya had resigned to “devote all his time and energy” to his defense.
At the time of resignation, Buyoya was living in Mali as the AU High Commissioner for the Mali and Sahel Region.
According to Axadle Times, the former president plans to soon leave Mali to go to another African country, from where he will brawl for his “rehabilitation”.