In Summary
  • Nkurunziza, 54, a former rebel leader, has ruled the tiny country since 2005.
  • Violence claimed at least 1,200 lives and displaced more than 400,000 people between April 2015 and May 2017.

BUJUMBURA,
Burundi's ruling party has bestowed the title of "eternal supreme guide" on President Pierre Nkurunziza, a party official confirmed on Sunday, as critics claimed he wants to lock in power for life.

"He is our elder, our father, our adviser," CNDD-FDD secretary general Evariste Ndayishimiye said in a video sent to AFP whose authenticity was confirmed by an official.

A statement issued after a meeting on Saturday of the party's top leadership in Nkurunziza's native Buye in the north of the former Belgian colony did not spell out the implications of the title.

HIS MAJESTY

The 54-year-old former rebel leader has ruled the densely populated central African country since 2005 after a devastating civil war.

A constitutional referendum in May could allow him to run in elections in 2020, paving the way for him to remain in power until 2034.

Critics mocked the development, with one decrying the "cult of personality around his majesty the King Nkurunziza I".

POLITICAL CRISIS

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