Late Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, before his death two days ago constantly dismissed fears of novel coronavirus pandemic as a hoax.
Nkurunziza on May 1 at an event to celebrate the International Labour Day, said his daughter, Dorcas, does not believe in the coronavirus “nonsense” and urged people at the gathering to shun social distancing measures and get closer to each other.
Praising his family during the event that took place at a sports stadium in Rumonge, about 80km south of the capital, Bujumbura, Nkurunziza said; “In our family this year, we prepared a prize for our child known as Dorcas Nkurunziza. We thank her for scoring very good marks at school. She is our last born and behaves very well.”
“My daughter doesn’t listen to nonsense about #COVID-19 rumours being peddled in other countries,” he said.
The late President was suspected to have died of COVID-19 complications several days after his wife, Denise Bucuma, was flown to Kenya for treatment after contracting the virus.
His mother, sister and other members of his family were also hospitalized after reportedly contracting the virus according to Thierry Uwahamoro, the Senior Program Manager of Partners Global.
Burundi held presidential election on May 20. During the campaigns and election all measures against COVID-19 such as social distancing, ban on public gatherings , sanitising and hand washing were ignored.
The country was criticized for concealing the true situation of the virus on ground.
Nkurunzizi, a former rebel leader, spent three terms in office and was due to leave office later this year at the expiration of his term and following last month’s election of former Army General, Evariste Ndayishimiye, as the new president in an election that was marred by rigging and irregularities according to the opposition.
The Burundian President also last month awarded himself the title of ‘supreme guide to patriotism’ once he steps down. The title meant that he must be consulted by his successor on issues of national security before any decision can be made.
Nkurunziza equally awarded himself $540,000 retirement payout and a luxury villa.