Burundi presidential poll to be held July 15, opposition rejects election calendar

FIRST REPATRIATE REFUGEES: Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, opposition figure in Burundi

FIRST REPATRIATE REFUGEES: Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, opposition figure in Burundi

Despite strong opposition from civil society organisations, and members of the opposition, the government of Burundi has confirmed the highly anticipated presidential election will be held July 15.

Earlier this week the National Independent Electoral Commission, (CENI) proposed the new electoral calendar that set the poll on July 15 pending approval from the government and other stakeholders.

As soon as the new calendar was proposed opposition groups and civil society dismissed it as a “nonstarter”, opposition notwithstanding, President Pierre Nkurunziza announced presidential poll will be held July 15, communal and legislative (lower chamber) polls will be held June 29 whereas senatorial are due July 24.

President Nkurunziza and the ruling party CNDD-FDD say they are satisfied with the new calendar while the opposition still rejects it.

Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, Vice-President of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU), an opposition party say the elections cannot be free and fair so long as the government has not even implemented prerequisite conditions put forth by regional Heads of State in Dar es Salaam May 31.

“Postponement of elections is not the key issue, the most important thing is to prepare free, fair and well organized elections,” Mr. Bamvuginyumvira said.

Mr. Bamvuginyumvira note current conditions are not conducive for elections as there are weapons still in the wrong hands and which the government has to confiscate first, and thousands of refugees scattered neighboring countries who must be repatriated before an election can be held.

The ruling party on the other hand counters that claims the opposition have no grounds to genuine reasons to dismiss the new electoral calendar.

Pascal Nyabenda, Chairman CNDD-FDD says the only reason opposition parties want elections delayed is because they are afraid of losing, plain and simple.

“It’s not the first time Burundi organizes elections while there are Burundians refugees. If we have about 3, 8 million voters, it’s senseless that the country fails to organize elections because of just 100 thousand refugees,” Mr Nyabenda said adding the government has promised to do all its best to disarm people holding weapons illegally”

The opposition, protestors, regional leaders and the international community have called for disbarment of Imbonerakure youth militia affiliated with the ruling party, these armed young men have been accused of harassing and torturing protestors with impunity.

Meanwhile, protestors are still resolute to march until President Nkurunziza changes his mind about running for the third controversial term.

One protestor was shot dead by the Police Wednesday in Buyenzi, one of the densely populated neighborhoods of Bujumbura, triggering severe protests whereby angry residents of the area took to the streets, mounting barricades and torching tires on roadways.

Tense confrontation ensued and police used live fire and tears gas to disperse angry protesters.

The political in Burundi is expected to be top on the agenda during the 25th Summit of the African Union due to open this Thursday in South Africa.

 

  • dsyliver

    They now declare the date which apparently was proposed by EAC summit. Actually i doubt if would make a difference. Its the same people the same system and the same matter