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Burundian President Reshuffles Cabinet

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has reportedly reshuffled his cabinet without giving an explanation why. Analysts say the president’s move is aimed at re-establishing his control over the government, which has been rocked by controversies since a court found former president Dometiene Ndayeziye not guilty of plotting to overthrow President Nkurunziza. It is also believed that the president is trying to get rid of supporters of Hussein Rajabu, former leader of the ruling party. Information minister Karenga Ramadan was one of those affected by the cabinet reshuffle losing his position to Hafsa Mossi who is also a former journalist.

Former information minister Karenga Ramadan was affected by the cabinet reshuffle losing his position to Hafsa Mossi who is also a former journalist. Ramadan confirmed he has lost his cabinet position in the reshuffle.

“Yes in fact there was a cabinet reshuffle which happened in the afternoon of Monday and the minister of communication and government spokesman as I was, has been replaced by a lady who is also a professional journalist, Hafsa Mossi. And another minister who has been dismissed is the minister of planning and reconstruction and who has been replaced by somebody who was the director general of budget, Abdallah Tarbo,” he said.

Ramadan said though he has lost his cabinet position, he is still a member of the ruling party.

“So the cabinet reshuffle happened and it is within this prospect that I’m no longer the government spokesman. But I’m still a member of the ruling party which is the CNDD-FDD (National Council for the Defence of Democracy–Forces for the Defence of Democracy) anyway,” Ramadan noted.

He said the president is yet to give reasons behind the reshuffle.

“I think the reason behind it has not been officially announced in the decree which was signed by the president. But as far as I know, I think it’s normal in a democratic system that a minister can be picked to play that role and that he can even be made to step down,” Ramadan said.

He said news of the cabinet reshuffle has been met with mixed reactions in the country.

“I think the cabinet reshuffle has been positively welcomed by certain people and negatively by others, and this is normal in a democracy. So what I say is that my sacking from the government, I do respect the decision of the president of the republic because he is the one who has got the constitutional powers to do so,” he said.

Ramadan traced his working relationship with the president when he was then a rebel leader.

“I have been working with him for the whole time that we were in the bush and later on during the peace negotiations and then to the transitional government. And even at the inauguration and then as a minister of communication and government spokesman,” he said.

Ramadan explained the rationale behind the release Sunday of captured rebels fighting the government.

“The reason behind the release was to make this process of finalizing the process of implementing the ceasefire agreement which was signed in September between the government and the rebel Palepehutu FNL. It was a kind of stumbling block that was preventing the Palepehutu members from not coming to join what we call the mechanism of verification and the follow up of the peace agreement,” he said.

Ramadan said with his experience in government, he could be in a capacity to advice people who aspire to be in politics.

“First of all, you have to know that I’m a journalist by profession and I’m not worried at all about what I can do tomorrow. I’m still a member of the ruling CNDD-FDD and I will continue to extend my services within the ruling party, and probably, for those who want to get maybe some political advices from my small experience,” he said.