How And Why Museveni Restored Nkurunziza To Burundi Power -- Uganda Sources

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Museveni, right, with Nkurunziza -- you dodged by this much, eh?

Uganda's president restored to power Pierre Nkurunziza last month when the Burundian president was briefly toppled while in Tanzania meeting with regional leaders over the crisis in his country, according to military and intelligence sources here.

The streets of Bujumbura, the capital had been filled with demonstrators opposing Nkurunziza's decision to run in presidential elections. He insisted, and judges in the country's highest court agreed with him, that he would not be violating the constitution's two-term limit because he was elected by Parliament for his first term; the constitution refers to universal suffrage.

As the protests escalated and while Nkurunziza was in Tanzania, his former head of military intelligence Gen. Godefroid Niyombare, announced that he had seized power on May 13.

What happened next? How did the coup unravel within a matter of a day or two?According to well-placed sources Uganda's president, Gen. Yoweri Museveni immediately set the wheels in motion to reverse the takeover. He spoke with Gen. Niyombare and told him that he would recognize the coup. He also told Niyombare that he should fly to Tanzania to make the case for why the army had to take power from Nkurunziza.

Gen. Museveni even dispatched a Ugandan general to Bujumbura who then flew with Gen. Niyombare to Tanzania.  The Ugandan general who flew with Niyombare to Tanzania then flew back, this time with Nkurunziza, to Uganda.

From Uganda Nkurunziza returned to Burundi with contingents of Ugandan soldiers from the Uganda Peoples Defense Force (UPDF), police armed with teargas, accompanied by the Ugandan general, the sources say.

On reaching Bujumbura “UPDF soldiers fired shots to scare off the Burundian demonstrators, according to a well-placed source. Some Ugandan security agents remain in Burundi while the general who coordinated Nkurunziza's return is back in Uganda.

Meanwhile the leader of the failed coup, Niyombare, who thought he had flown to Tanzania as Burundi's new head of state, has not been heard of since he left the country.

Gen. Museveni himself faces elections next March, after 29 years in power. He feared that had the Burundian demonstrators succeeded in their agitation to block Nkurunziza from a third term, Uganda's opposition parties would use the same play book to drive him from office.



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