GITEGA December 27th (ABP) – The Burundi Head of state, Mr. Pierre Nkurunziza, held a public program on Thursday through which he responded to all questions concerning national life addressed to him by journalists and the people from different corners of the country.

In his introductory speech, Mr. Nkurunziza briefly outlined his achievements since his inauguration in 2005 as the Head of the State.

He expressed his feelings of satisfaction to the people for the greater understanding and support they have shown him throughout the accomplishment of the country’s development projects since then.  “The economic sector has been shrinking,” he said, adding that the country currently lives on its own budget, more than 95%.

President Nkurunziza also said that Burundi is now exploiting the riches of its subsoil, while sidelining the gossip that says that Russia and China have a monopoly on mining. “The USA and Canada exploit nickel,” he explained.

On the political level, he indicated that security was generally good during the aforementioned period, however regretting the interference in the internal affairs of Burundi of certain countries including Rwanda, which influenced 2015 crisis.

In addition, he condemned Rwanda for having perpetrated an attack on Burundi in November 2019. He indicated that Burundi has already filed a lawsuit to that effect.

Speaking on the 2020 elections, Mr. Nkurunziza expressed his hope that they will be successful, arguing that they are being prepared in a peaceful climate. He added that the political parties live in harmony and the beneficiary people have engaged their contributions to finance them.

At the end of questions from journalists, Mr. Nkurunziza spoke on the statement of the American government accusing Burundi of posing a threat to American interests. He reassured that Burundi does not intend to do so. He argued that the statement was inspired by reports that do not reflect the reality on the ground.

To the question of the inundations which have recently caused mourning among the people of the Imbo plain, Mr. Nkurunziza replied that the upstream population should invest in the implementation of environmental protection measures, such as the drawing of contour lines for the retention of runoff water and reforestation.

In the ​​transport sector, Mr. Nkurunziza said that Burundi plans to take the seaway in traffic, arguing that it is less expensive compared to the land way which has been used so far.

In the media sector, he refused to interfere in the trials of journalists working for the Iwacu newspaper, accused of being involved in an armed attack case that occurred last November in Bubanza province.

Regarding the zero tolerance for corruption initiated in 2005, he replied that it produces convincing effects, arguing that colossal sums of money had been returned to the public treasury. He added that the perpetrators of economic embezzlement had been brought to justice and that nearly 4,000 cases are being processed in courts.

In the sports sector, he took issue with those who improperly accuse the coach of the national team “Intamba mu rugamba” of being responsible for the defeats suffered by that team since CAN 2019. He explained the defeats depend on many parameters, citing among others the technicality, cohesion, and dynamism of the players as well as the sponsorship. “In an association, there are always ups and downs and the coach did what he could,” he said.

Among the questions of the people to which the Head of State answered is, among other things, the complaint of 26 members of the Prince Regent Charles hospital who were wrongfully dismissed by the director of the hospital four years ago.

He recommended that the bodies responsible for fighting corruption should take up the case and settle it within a month.

To close, he announced that such a program will be organized before the end of his presidential term fixed in 2020.

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