Burundian gov’t hints at new election calendar, grenade explosion injures 2 police officers


President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi

President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi

In what could be seen as a veiled response to the East Africa Community (EAC)’s leaders’ summit recommendations last weekend to move the general election, the Bujumbura government has indicated new election dates will be announced in the coming days.

Philippe Nzobonariba, the government spokesperson has said a new elections schedule will be made public soon.

It is not yet clear however, whether or not communal and legislative elections slated for this Friday June 5 will take place as scheduled.

Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, the Chairperson of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), has said new dates should be known before Friday, the day of the scheduled communal and legislative elections.

At the end of their emergency summit on Burundi in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, last Sunday, EAC leaders appealed to the Burundian government to move the forthcoming election for at least a month and a half.

Meanwhile, CENI is in a crisis of its own, two of its top officials resigned recently and fled the country saying security conditions do not allow them perform their duties effectively.

This Tuesday, anti-third protestors took to the streets of Bujumbura vowing they will march until President Pierre Nkurunziza changes his mind about running for president.

After a four-day respite, demonstrators came back to the streets in various neighborhoods of Bujumbura.

No barricades were placed in the main streets, or tires torched as it has been since the broke out of the protests on April 26. But there was still scanty traffic in areas like Cibitoke, Nyakabiga, Musaga and Kanyosha.

The police still unleashed tear gas and live fire on protestors, and police managed prevent protestors in the south of the capital to access major road ways. Several protestors were arrested as they tried to force their way to the city.

Two police officers sustained injuries following a grenade attack by unknown men the afternoon at a polling center in Musaga neighborhood where election officials were distributing voter registration cards. Dozens of protesters were arrested by police following the grenade explosion.