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Politics | Economy - Development

Burundi Vice-President resigns over graft

Ex-Vice President Alice Nzomukunda:
«What he called a donation is nothing but a loan.»

© Judith Basutama/IRIN/afrol News
afrol News / IRIN, 5 September
- Burundi's second vice president, Alice Nzomukunda, resigned today in protest at interference by the chairman of the ruling party. Ms Nzomukunda holds that corruption and false coup allegations are hindering development in Burundi.

"The government's hands are tied by [the chairman] Hussein Radjabu," Ms Nzomukunda said at a news conference in the capital, Bujumbura.

Alice Nzomukunda was Burundi's second highest ranking official in the ruling party. Burundi recently emerged from 12 years of brutal civil war, but Ms Nzomukunda said party chairman Radjabu was not respecting the country's institutions and was obstructing efforts to create a functional peace-time government.

Ms Nzomukunda's accusations come when several organisations are accusing the government of human-rights abuses.

The spokesman for the ruling Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie - Forces de Defense pour la Democratie (CNDD-FDD), Evariste Nsabiyumva, denied that Mr Radjabu was an obstacle to good governance.

"We are in a democracy in which everyone is free to express their views and in which government leaders are free to resign," he said. "However, what Nzomukunda says about the party chairman are big lies."

Ms Nzomukunda said the catalyst for her decision to resign was a public statement Mr Radjabu made on Sunday at a CNDD-FDD rally in Bujumbura. Ms Nzomukunda said Mr Radjabu wrongly claimed that the World Bank agreed to donate US$ 35 million to Burundi.

"What he called a donation is nothing but a loan." Ms Nzomukunda said. "He contradicted what I told parliamentarians on Thursday. I was disgraced in Sunday's rally, a celebration in which I was taking part." She also said Mr Radjabu did not say that the World Bank would only disburse the money following an audit of the sale of the presidential jet.

The ex-Vice-President further told the press that there had been "numerous political problems" that had motivated her decision. She cast doubt on an alleged coup plot, which has led to the arrest of ex-President Domitien Ndayizeye. Generally, "corruption and economic embezzlement are undermining" Burundi's hopes of overcoming problems created by the civil war, she said.

Ms Nzomukunda is a top official of the CNDD-FDD and was a fighter with the former rebel movement before it signed a ceasefire agreement with the government at the time in December 2002.

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