Executive Branch Reform: Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement for Burundi

Protocol II, Chapter I, Article 7: The Executive

1.(a) The Constitution shall provide that, save for the very first election of a President, the President of the Republic shall be elected by direct universal suffrage in which each elector may vote for only one candidate. The President of the Republic shall be elected by an absolute majority of the votes cast. If this majority is not obtained in the first round, a second round shall follow within 15 days.

(b) Only the two candidates who have received the greatest number of votes during the first round may stand in the second round. The candidate who receives the majority of votes cast in the second round shall be declared the President of the Republic.

(c) For the first election, to be held during the transition period, the President shall be indirectly elected as specified in article 20, paragraph 10 below.

2. The President of the Republic shall exercise regulatory power and shall ensure the proper enforcement and administration of legislation. She/he shall exercise her/his powers by decrees, countersigned, where required, by a Vice-President or a minister concerned.

3. She/he shall be elected for a term of five years, renewable only once. No one may serve more than two presidential terms.

4. In the exercise of her/his functions, the President of the Republic shall be assisted by two Vice-Presidents. They shall be appointed by the President of the Republic, who shall previously have submitted their candidacy for approval by the National Assembly and the Senate, voting separately, by a majority of their members. The President of the Republic may dismiss the Vice-Presidents. They shall belong to different ethnic groups and political parties.

5. The President of the Republic, after consultation with the two Vice-Presidents, shall appoint the members of the Government and terminate their appointments.

6. Parties or coalitions thereof shall be invited, but not obliged, to submit to the President a list of persons to serve as ministers if such parties or coalitions have received more than one-twentieth of the vote. They shall be entitled to at least the same proportion, rounded off downwards, of the total number of ministers as their proportion of members in the National Assembly. If the President dismisses a minister, she/he must choose a replacement from a list submitted by the party or coalition of the minister in question.

7. The President of the Republic shall be the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the defence and security forces. She/he shall declare war and sign armistices following consultation with the Government and the bureaux of the National Assembly and of the Senate.

8. The President of the Republic may be impeached for serious misconduct, impropriety or corruption by resolution of two-thirds of the members of the National Assembly and the Senate sitting together.

9. The President of the Republic may be charged only with the crime of high treason. The case shall be heard by the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court sitting together and presided over by the President of the Supreme Court.

10. The Supreme Court shall receive a written statement of the assets and property of the President, the Vice-Presidents and members of the Government when they assume and relinquish office.

Article 10: The administration

1. The administration shall function in accordance with the democratic values and principles enshrined in the Constitution, and with the law.

2. The administration shall be so structured, and all civil servants shall so perform their duties, as to serve all users of public services with efficiency, courtesy, impartiality and equity. Embezzlement, corruption, extortion and misappropriation of all kinds shall be punishable in accordance with the law. Any state employee convicted of corruption shall be dismissed from the public administration following a disciplinary inquiry.

3. The administration shall be organized in ministries, and every minister in charge of a ministry shall report to the President of the Republic and to the National Assembly on the manner in which the ministry performs its functions and utilizes the funds allocated to it.

4. The administration shall be broadly representative and reflect the diversity of the components of the Burundian nation. The practices with respect to employment shall be based on objective and equitable criteria of aptitude and on the need to correct the imbalances and achieve broad representation.

5. A law shall specify the distinction between posts that are career or technical posts and those that are political posts.

6. No civil servant or member of the Judiciary may be accorded favourable or unfavourable treatment solely on grounds of her/his gender, ethnicity or political affiliation.

7. An independent Ombudsperson shall be created by the Constitution. The organization and functioning of her/his service shall be determined by law.

8. The Ombudsperson shall hear complaints and conduct inquiries relating to mismanagement and infringements of citizens' rights committed by members of the public administration and the judiciary, and shall make recommendations thereon to the appropriate authorities. She/he shall also mediate between the administration and citizens and between administrative departments, and shall act as an observer of the functioning of the public administration.

9. The Ombudsperson shall possess the powers and resources required to perform her/his duty. She/he shall report annually to the National Assembly and the Senate. Her/his report shall be published in the Official Gazette of Burundi.

10. The Ombudsperson shall be appointed by the National Assembly by a three-quarters majority. The appointment shall be subject to confirmation by the Senate.

Implementation History


Intermediate Implementation

Not all major parties to the conflict signed the agreement until 2003. During this three year gap, implementation of the executive branch reform provision began. 

The Arusha accord provided for the directly elected president except for the transitional president who would be indirectly elected. President now can serve two five years terms. Agreement also provided for two vice presidents approved separately in the assembly and the senate by a majority of their members. The accords provide one ministerial position to the party or coalition that secured more than one-twentieth of the vote. In Arusha accord, parties also agreed to establish an independent Ombudsperson to hear complaints and conduct inquiries relating to mismanagement and infringements of citizens' rights committed by members of the public administration and the judiciary. The Ombudsperson was to be appointed by the National assembly with ¾ majority and is responsible to report to the assembly and senate annually.

On 1 November 2001, interim President Pierre Buyoya from Union from National Progress Party(UPRONA) was inaugurated for the initial 18 months of transitional period with Domitien Ndayizeye from Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) as the vice president.1 

On 30 April 2003, Domitien Ndayizeye became interim president (Tutsi).2


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Intermediate Implementation

The interim presidency continued until the presidential elections on 19 August 2005. As specified in the accord, Burundi’s lawmakers choose Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader as Burundi’s new president for five years.3  It was an indirect elections. On 29 August 2005, Burundi’s parliament approved Dr. Martin Nduwimana, first vice-president and Mrs. Alice Nzomukunda, second vice-president with unanimous vote. The first vice president was responsible for political and administrative affairs and the second vice president was in charge of social and economic affairs.4 On 30 August 2005, a 20-member cabinet including seven women cabinet members was formed. In the new cabinet, 60% were Hutu and 40% were Tutsi.5

As of 2005, the legislature did not pass the law for the office of the Ombudsme.6

  • 3. "Timeline Burundi."
  • 4. "Burundi parliament approves two vice-presidents," BBC Monitoring Africa, August 19, 2005.
  • 5. "Burundi president forms government," Agence France Presse, August 30, 2005.
  • 6. "Burundi president marks second anniversary in power with address; overview," BBC Monitoring Africa, August 27, 2007.

Intermediate Implementation

The reforms to the executive branch of the government called for the direct election of the president and the creation of an ombudsmen. Both of these developments have yet to take place.  


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Intermediate Implementation

No developments observed this year. 


Intermediate Implementation

On 11 November 2009, the senate of Burundi approved a bill on the creation, structure and duties of an ombudsman office.6 The ombudsman, however, was not appointed in 2009.

  • 6. "Burundi senators ratify creation of ombudsman's office," BBC Monitoring Africa, November 11, 2009.

Full Implementation

On 25 January 2010, the Office of the Ombudsman was created and the parliament elected Mohamed Rukara, a CNDD-FDD member as the first ombudsman. For his affiliation with political party, there was concern of him being independent and neutral as envisaged in the Arusha agreement and the constitution.7

As agreed in the Arusha accord, the presidential elections took place on 28 June 2010 in which Pierre Nkurunziza, a CNDD-FDD candidate received more than 91% of votes in the direct election.8 On 26 August, the reelected president was sworn in for his second term. A new cabinet was announced on 31 August in which 14 out of the 21 ministers were associated with the ruling party. In new cabinet 9 members were women. Because the constitution does not require political affiliation for 40% share of Tutsi in the cabinet, the new cabinet meets the constitutional requirement of 60% Hutu and 40% Tutsi power-sharing provisions.9


Full Implementation

With the direct election of president in 2010, the executive branch reforms were complete. 


Full Implementation

No further developments observed.