Anxiety as Burundi polls bring an end to Nkurunziza’s rule

Saturday May 23 2020

Evariste Ndayishimiye

Evariste Ndayishimiye (centre), Burundi's Presidential candidate of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, and his wife Angelique Ndayubaha (right) arrive to vote during the presidential and general elections at the Bubu Primary school in Giheta, central Burundi, on May 20, 2020. PHOTO | AFP 

The EastAfrican
By The EastAfrican
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A cloud of anxiety hangs over Burundi as the electoral agency continued counting votes days after Wednesday’s election that is guaranteed to end the 15-year rule of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The main opposition party, National Congress for Liberty (CNL), in a tweet claimed that vote rigging was ongoing, as the country awaited provisional results expected to be announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) on May 25 or May 27.

“On the polling station in Gisuru in Ruyigi province the number of Voters who registered to vote were 350, the turnout was 314 but CENI results reported that 354 voted for CNDD-FDD and 41 voted for CNL bringing total number to 395.

Burundi five years ago descended into violence after President Nkurunziza, who ascended to power in 2005, announced he would vie for a third term in office.

He decided to end his rule in this year’s election and threw his weight behind an ally, Evariste Ndayishimiye, who is a former Minister of Interior and Public Security and currently runs the department of military affairs in the president’s office.

Mr Ndayishimiye, who is seen as the front runner in the polls, is also secretary general of the governing party, CNDD-FDD.

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President Nkurunziza campaigned for his preferred successor on a platform of peace and reconciliation in the country that has been marred by decades of coups and violent takeover of power.

“These elections will go down in history as I am the only president who completed 15 years while in office,” said the president in Bujumbura.

Violence

The month-long campaigns were marred by violence between the ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure and CNL supporters that cliamed four plives and arrest of more than 100 people.

All voters were ordered to return to their homes after casting their ballots in efforts to avoid fresh outbreak of violence. On Wednesday popular social media platforms were shut down as voting for presidential, parliamentary and local representatives got underway.

WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Yahoo Mail were all inaccessible, while YouTube, TikTok and Twitter, were not affected.

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