Gitega (formerly Kitega) is the capital and one of the largest cities in Burundi. Located in the centre of the country, in the Burundian central plateau roughly 62 kilometres (39 mi) east by south of Bujumbura (the former capital and largest city), Gitega was the seat of the Kingdom of Burundi until its abolition in 1966.[note 1] In late December 2018, Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would follow on a 2007 promise to return Gitega its former political capital status, with Bujumbura remaining as economical capital and centre of commerce. A vote in the Parliament of Burundi made the change official on 16 January 2019, with all branches of government expected to move in over three years.
|Elevation||1,504 m (4,934 ft)|
|• Total||41 944|
Gitega is also the capital of the homonymous province, one of the eighteen provinces of Burundi. It is located in the middle of the country, at roughly the same distance between the economical capital Bujumbura and Lake Tanganyika to the west, the Tanzanian border to the east—both at around 62 kilometres (39 mi)—and the Rwandan border, about 72 kilometres (45 mi) to the north. It is located on a broad plateau surrounded by hills, a few kilometres southwest of the convergence between the rivers Ruvyironza and Ruvubu. Ruvubu National Park, the country's biggest, lies 26 kilometres (16 mi) to the east.
It is the home of the Burundi's National Museum of Gitega and the Archdiocese of Gitega. Several karyenda royal drum sanctuaries are located in the area, as well as the ibwami (royal court). On 29 April 1972, Ntare V of Burundi, the country's last Mwami (King), was killed in Gitega.
In March 2007, President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza announced that Burundi was planning to bring back its capital city to Gitega, saying that it is in a better location for a capital than Bujumbura.
On 24 December 2018, it was announced by Nkurunziza that Gitega was to become the capital city of Burundi, pending only Parliament approval. The expected parliamentary assent (given the President's CNDD-FFD party comfortable majority in both chambers) arrived through a vote on 16 January 2019, with some ministries already starting the move two days later.
Gitega was served by Gitega Airport, which is now defunct. Gitega is served by four National Roads (Routes Nationales, RN): RN2 connects it with Bujumbura through the northwest, via Muramvya and Bujumbura Rural provinces. RN15 leads to the north of country, towards Ngozi and continuing on to Rwanda, while passing through the ancient royal court of Gishora; RN12, which separates from RN15 on the outskirts of Gitega, heads northeast to serve the provinces of Karuzi and Muyinga. The last is RN3, which heads towards the southwest towards Rumonge and Lake Tanganyika.
- From 1922 on, Usumbura (now Bujumbura) acted as a second, colonial, administrative and economical capital of the country; it effectively became its only political capital between the abolition of the monarchy in 1966 and January 2019).
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The vote took place on Wednesday and the leader of parliament said the move would take place over three years.
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