President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered Kenyan flag and the Flag of the East African Community be flown at half-mast in honour of the late Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza.
In a Presidential Proclamation issued on Friday, the Head of State directed that the flags be flown at half-mast at all Public Buildings and Public Grounds and wherever else throughout the entire territory of the Republic of Kenya from Saturday, June 13 to the sunset of the day when the late president will be interred.
The directive extends to Kenya’s Diplomatic Missions abroad.
“May the late President Pierre Nkurunziza rest in eternal peace,” the Proclamation reads.
Nkurunziza died on Monday at the age of 55. He is believed to have died from Covid-19 complications.
While announcing Nkurunziza’s death, the government of Burundi said he died after suffering a cardiac arrest.
“The Government of the Republic of Burundi announces with great sadness the unexpected death of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi, at the Cinquantenaire Hospital in Karusi following a cardiac arrest on June 8, 2020,” a statement from the Government Spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye reads.
“He watched a volleyball match on Saturday afternoon in Ngozi but became unwell later that night. He was rushed to hospital and by Sunday his health had improved. He was able to interact with people who were around him.”
The Burundian Government announced seven days of national mourning. The country’s flags will fly half-mast during the period.
Nkurunziza, who was on record saying there was no Covid-19 in Burundi, was reportedly admitted to a local hospital after contracting the contagious disease.
His wife, Denise Bucumi Nkurunziza, was a fortnight ago flown to Aga Khan University Hospital in Nairobi for specialized treatment after contracting Covid-19.
She returned home on Wednesday following her husband’s death.
Nkurunziza had attracted criticism over the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Burundi just concluded presidential elections on May 20 after a month-long campaign period that exposed millions of citizens to Covid-19. The governing party candidate, retired General Evariste Ndayishimiye, won with 69 per cent of the vote.
Nkurunziza had not taken any measures to contain the spread of the disease such as social distancing and wearing of masks like many East African countries.
Burundi is also the only African country that did not stop football tournaments during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Burundi government had last month ordered the country’s top World Health Organization (WHO) representative and three other experts coordinating the novel coronavirus response to leave the country.
Burundi, through its foreign ministry in a letter dated May 12 said the four officials “are declared persona non grata and as such, must leave the territory of Burundi”.