President Nkurunziza eyes overwhelming victory as vote counting continues in Burundi

President Pierre Nkunziza casting his vote at Buye polling station near his home town of Ngozi, Northern Burundi.

President Pierre Nkunziza casting his vote at Buye polling station near his home town of Ngozi, Northern Burundi.

The electoral body in Burundi has announced preliminary results of Tuesday’s presidential poll will be released Friday July 24.

The government is upbeat the embattled President will be overwhelmingly re-elected for the controversial third term.

Speaking to the BBC, the chairman of the electoral commission (CENI, Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye said he is satisfied with how the elections were organized and how Burundians turned out to vote in big numbers.

Ndayicariye says voter turnout was between 72 and 80 percent with big numbers in rural areas, and he concedes residents in the capital Bujumbura didn’t go out to vote as was expected.

“In the countryside, the behavior of citizens is exemplary, but it’s a different situation in the capital Bujumbura,” Mr. Ndayicariye said

Despite the fact that opposition parties and coalitions boycotted the poll citing voter intimidation and the prevailing unconducive atmosphere, the electoral commission says their candidates were on the ballot and will be allocated their share of the vote.

“I do not have any information of any candidate who has pulled out of the polls. Every candidate will receive what he deserves because the Independent Electoral National Commission has not so far received any letter announcing that a candidate has pulled out,” the election commission chairman stated

The Burundi government ignored numerous calls to postpone the presidential poll and “pressed ahead” with an election that was reportedly marred by violence and vote rigging.

Several international donors to the central African nation have threatened to “review aspects of the partnership that is not yet suspended” because Tuesday’s poll lacked “credibility” and will further discredit the Bujumbura government.

The UK, US and Belgium are some of the countries that have condemned the poll and signaled they would isolate Burundi.

Conversely, the Burundian government has dismissed the international community’s threats saying that elections are for Burundians who organized them according to the law governing the country.

Willy Nyamitwe, the Information Officer in the President’s Office says the election is the responsibility of the country, not of foreign countries.

“The government of Burundi commends the support of the international community, but we must understand that it’s not allowed for any country to interfere in governance issues of another country. By this, Burundians have been called to vote and they responded massively, so no one should come up and challenge what has been done by citizens,” Nyamitwe said

Rukinga polling Station

Rukinga polling Station

The government argues the donor partners are basing their decisions on fabricated and ill-intentioned reports about the conditions on the ground.

. Meanwhile, the senatorial elections are due to complete the country’s contentious electoral process Friday July 24. The recently elected communal councilors will gather and elect members of the Upper Chamber of Burundian Parliament.

Afrika Reporter has learnt the opposition and civil society organisations will roundly reject the results of Tuesday’s poll, as they continue to engage the government. But it is not clear whether or not the Uganda-mediated talks to end the turmoil in Burundi will go on.

“There is no point in waiting for the results of a fraud election, the government has to come to its senses and negotiate, we need to resolve the conflict and then we can think about the elections later,” a prominent opposition figure told this website on condition of anonymity.

 

 

 

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