The draft law will also award him a lifetime salary, housing and the same benefits as a sitting vice-president. The MPs also proposed Mr Nkurunziza be elevated to the title of “Supreme leader” and “Champion of patriotism”. Mr Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, became the second president to be chosen in democratic elections. He was elected in 2005 after the end of a brutal civil war.
In 2015 Burundi was plunged into another crisis when Mr Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful bid for re-election to a third term sparked protests by opposition supporters, who said the move was unconstitutional. As a supreme leader, the president would yield some political power, especially within the ruling party which is expected to win this spring’s election.
Burundians have mixed feelings about the bonuses awarded to Mr Nkurunziza. Some criticised the benefits handed out by the government of one of the poorest countries in the world, whilst others felt it was appropriate for serving the country with the highest of responsibilities.