Nkurunziza focuses on 2020 elections, starts raising funds

Sunday August 13 2017

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza. PHOTO | FILE

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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Two years into his third term, Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza is focusing on the 2020 general elections, asking Burundians to raise funds for the elections.

He recently visited his native village of Ngozi in the northern part of the country, and deposited about $3,000 in the government’s account as part of his contribution to inspire other citizens to follow suit.

“In 2015, those who had agreed to finance the elections tricked Burundians and withdrew their support one week to the elections,” said President Nkurunziza.

He urged Burundians and foreign nationals to voluntarily contribute to fund the next elections.

In 2015, after the European Union suspended aid to the Burundi government in response to the allegations of human-rights violations in the country, Burundi government initiated a fund from which 70 per cent of the 2015 electoral budget was raised.

The 2020 electoral budget is estimated at around $45 million and fully funded by Burundi.

In April 2015, protests erupted in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, after the incumbent vied for a third term in office, the move was criticised by the country’s opposition leaders arguing that it violated the constitution.

Since then, more than 500 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands fled to neighbouring countries. But as the country regains stability, hundreds of Burundians are reported to be voluntarily returning home.

As the country for the 2020 general elections, the incumbent president has already set up a commission to amend the constitution, including article 96, that limits a president of the republic to stay in office for more than two terms of five years each.

According to the opposition leaders, it is evident that President Nkurunziza is paving the path to enable him to vie in the 2020 presidential elections.

Agathon Rwasa an opposition leader and Deputy Speaker of the Parliament told The EastAfrican that the opposition parties are not given room to exercise any activity.

“You can only be safe in the ruling party or affiliated to the ruling party, so the opposition here are harassed and some arrested.”

On the streets of Bujumbura majority of the citizens prefer to stay away from commenting on the politics, however, they hold varied opinions about the 2020 election fundraising.