Burundi calls for peaceful voting

Tuesday May 19 2020

Burundi’s incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza

Burundi’s incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza (centre) kneels on the ground as he prays during the last campaign of the ruling party, CNDD-FDD, in Bujumbura on May 16, 2020. PHOTO | AFP 

The EastAfrican
By The EastAfrican
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As Burundians get ready to vote in the presidential election on Wednesday May 20, the government is calling for the respect of law for a peace election.

In a statement issued on Monday May 18, the Public Security ministry said; “We want to warn whoever will try to destabilise the elections that the police and its security partners are instructed not to tolerate any disruption.” It was signed by Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, the Public Security minister.

This comes after violence between the ruling party youth wing Imbonerakure and National Congress for Liberty (CNL) militants marred the 21 days of campaigning, leading to the killing of four people, according to the government.

The ministry has also asked supporters of opposition parties CNL and Uprona to cast their votes peacefully, “and return to their homes immediately after the vote. All gathering at polling stations are strictly prohibited.” This was in reaction to the parties’ call on its members to turn up in big numbers. 

In his final rally in Gitega, opposition leader Agathon Rwasa called on his supporters to closely monitor the elections.

“We know they want to steal votes but everyone should monitor closely the counting because it is their right,” said Rwasa.

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Mr Rwasa has spoken of continued attacks on his CNL party supporters and members, and also alleged that this is specific on candidates or their electoral observers.

The CNL party has said that more than 300 party members have been arrested since the beginning of the campaigns.

Confrontation between the opposition members and ruling party’s youth wing Imbonerakure have been reported countrywide specifically in the provinces of Ngozi, Kirundo, Kayanza, Bujumbura and Gitega.

Burundi, unlike other EAC countries does not give regular updates on the covid-19 situation or numbers and on Sunday May 17, the Health ministry announced 15 new Covid-19 cases based on tests conducted earlier this month.

Currently the total number of Covid-19 cases in Burundi stands at 42 from which 20 recovered and discharged with one fatality.

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