Burundi opposition wants a sit-down with Nkurunziza

Agathon Rwasa, Burundian opposition leader says his party will not participate in the forthcoming elections.

Agathon Rwasa, Burundian opposition leader says his party will not participate in the forthcoming elections.

The government and the ruling party in Burundi, CNDD-FDD have set July 15, as the date on which the presidential election will be held but Agathon Rwasa, an opposition candidate with the Hope for Burundi Coalition wants President Pierre Nkurunziza to sit with all stakeholders to discuss how and when the election can organized and held.

In a press conference held Tuesday in Bujumbura, Agathon Rwasa reiterated that Nkurunziza decision to run for the third term violates the constitution.

He says considering the current situation, the country cannot expect free and fair elections, hence a need for a dialogue with other political actors instead of manipulating the law for personal interests.

“What kind of elections can we expect in the current situation? What kind of elections whereby results are already known, without a real Independent National Electoral Commission, with no free press, and with dramatic security conditions? It’s just a comedy,”  Agathon Rwasa told the press.

He says the minimum standards for a democratic and open and free electoral process are not there.

He invites President Nkurunziza and his ruling party to take note of the recommendation made by AU Heads of State in their recent summit in Johannesburg, who called for an immediate resumption of dialogue between the government and the opposition.

Agathon Rwasa warns that the country may be isolated by the international community, if Nkurunziza and the government go ahead and hold the election.

However, Joseph Ntakarutimana, the Deputy Chairman of the ruling party, says the current electoral calendar cannot be changed.

“We have been repeatedly delaying the electoral calendar so as to satisfy those who did not want to take part in the elections. But we would like to inform everyone that there cannot be any changes aiming at violating deadlines defined by the constitution.” he says.

Rwasa and 16 other opposition leaders have threatened to boycott the July 15 election.

Meanwhile, the two new appointees for the Independent National Electoral Commission have been sworn-in before the President and the National Assembly.

Annonciate Niyonkuru and Alice Nijimbere were appointed to respectively replace  Spès-Caritas Ndironkeye, former Vice-President, and Illuminata Ndabahagamye, former Chief Financial Officer, who stepped down allegedly due to unsuitable security conditions in the country for a free and fair election.