Burundi opposition gets aspirant

March 1, 2010 12:00 am

, BUJUMBURA, Mar 1 – Burundi\’s opposition Democratic Alliance for Renewal (ADR) chose its leader, former vice-president Alice Nzomukunda, as its candidate for the presidential election due to begin in June.

Nzomukunda was unanimously elected late Sunday by the 715 delegates who attended a special party conference in the small central African state\’s capital Bujumbura.

"Alice Nzomukunda has already occupied important positions and she had the courage to resign in protest at the incompetence and corruption that characterised the (ruling) Cndd-FDD regime," her campaign manager Mathias Basabose said.

"She is running for president today because she thinks that by being at the helm of this country, she can change things, fight against graft, impunity and under-development," he added.

The 44-year-old Nzomukunda, from the Hutu majority, was appointed second vice-president by President Pierre Nkurunziza in 2005.

She resigned a year later and has headed the ADR opposition party since its official accreditation in August 2008.

Nzomukunda joins a number of other candidates who have already been designated by their parties to challenge Nkurunziza, who has not officially announced his re-election bid but is widely expected to do so.

The main opposition candidates are Agathon Rwasa, who heads for the former Hutu rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL) and Domitien Ndayizeye, who was picked by the Burundi Democratic Front (Frodebu).

Nkurunziza has been accused of putting the squeeze on civil and political liberties ahead of the communal, presidential and legislative elections due to be held between May and September.

Since a peace deal was reached in 2006, Burundi has been struggling to recover from a 13-year civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead.


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