President of Burundi and chairman of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).
Working primarily in:
Description of Work:
In 1993, civil war broke out following the assasination of Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye while Nkurunziza was lecturing at Burundi University. After the army attacked the campus, Nkurunziza joined rebel forces as a soldier for the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD). The FDD is the military wing of part of a larger organization, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) which represents the political wing of the most significant rebel group during the Burundi civil war.
Before rising to the top of the ranks as an FDD leader, Nkurunziza taught at the high school level, Univeristy level, coached the army football team and also taught at the Burundi military academy, ISCAM, which would later serve him as a political leader. After being elected as head of the FDD, he signed a cease-fire agreement with the government in 2003, later serving as Minister for Good Governance in the transitional government of President Domitien Ndayizeye.
In 2005, the CNDD-FDD experienced a series of electoral victories and Nkurunziza was soon elected president without protest from the parliament. Now he is working to reach peace agreements and balance ethnic discrepencies within parliament, while seeking to raise the standard of living for the millions of Burndians affected by years of political strife and official corruption.
Graduating with a degree in education and sports at the University of
Burundi, Nkurunziza was not originally known for his political
activities. His father, Eustache Ngabisha, was a Hutu political leader
who was killed in 1972 during a period of ethnic massacre which took
the lives of 100,000 Burundians.
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Dec/18/1963
Place of Origin: Burundi
of seven children, Nkurunziza and his sister are the only two alive
after two siblings were killed in the civil war and three others died
fighting in the CNDD-FDD. He is married with two sons and describes
himself as a "born-again Christian."