We will not take part in the presidential poll: Burundi opposition

FIRST REPATRIATE REFUGEES: Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, opposition figure in Burundi

FIRST REPATRIATE REFUGEES: Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, opposition figure in Burundi

A leader within an opposition party in Burundi has declared his party will not be taking part in the July 21 presidential poll in the conflict-torn state.

Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, the Vice President of FRODEBU says the one week postponement of the election is not long enough to allow stakeholders in the conflict to create a conducive atmosphere for the election to take place.

In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Bamvuginyumvira says “one week is not enough to repatriate tens of thousands of refugees who have fled the country, re-instate independent media, and allow exiled politicians to return in time to take part in the election”

Last Friday President Pierre Nkurunziza signed a decree moving the July 15 election 6 days forward but the opposition and civil society organisations, regional leaders and the international community would want it off the table until peace and security is restored.

The recent East African Community heads of state summit in Dar es Salaam recommended the election be moved to July 30.

The election was originally scheduled for June 26 but the government bowed to pressure and postponed it to July 15, and now it has been moved yet again, albeit unsatisfactorily.

FRODEBU and other opposition parties also boycotted the just concluded communal and legislative polls, and they have since dismissed the ruling party’s “overwhelming victory”

The conflict that has rocked the Central African poor nation was ignited by the governing party CNDD-FDD’s decision to nominate President Nkurunziza for a controversial third term at the end of April.

Critics argue the president’s bid is “illegal” but Nkurunziza maintains the country’s constitution does not bar him from running.

Article 96 of the Burundian Constitution allows the head of state two five-year terms through universal suffrage.

Nkurunziza, who has served since 2005 was elected by parliament for his first term. The country’s constitutional court has validated his candidacy.

Meanwhile, over the weekend government forces claimed to have captured 100 gunmen and killed some in fierce fighting at the border with Rwanda.

The development comes as some of the renegade generals who mounted the foiled coup on May 13 have warned of an armed rebellion against the Nkurunziza government to force him out of power.

“The only way to reach this objective (removing Nkurunziza from power) is to use force.” General Leonard Ngendakumana, a deputy to the May thwarted coup leader told Reuters.

Ngendakumana has also claimed they are behind recent string of deadly grenade attacks in the capital Bujumbura and across the country.

The Burundian turmoil has led to nearly 100 deaths, and thus far forced more than 150,000 out Burundi.

Experts have warned these numbers will continue to rise as the controversial presidential election nears.