Burundi vote: Violence mars first 10 days of campaigns

Saturday May 09 2020

Supporters of the ruling party CNDD-FDD react during the opening of the campaign in Gitega, central Burundi, on April 27, 2020. PHOTO | TCHANDROU NITANGA | AFP

By The EastAfrican

Political campaigns in Burundi have been hit by violence and hate speech, hardly 10 days into the exercise, the government has said.

Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesman of Public Security minister, said there have been confrontations between political parties CNL led by Agathon Rwasa and the ruling party’s CNDD-FDD supporters countrywide, that led to the arrest of 64 people.

The spokesman said that both CNL and CNDD-FDD were involved in the acts of violence as a woman was attacked by ruling party members in a province that the spokesman did not mention.

A female member of opposition CNL party was arrested last week.

“She was arrested in Mukongomanga commune where she had been for campaigns and was accused of insulting the governor of Bujumbura rural,” Agathon Rwasa told The EastAfrican in Nairobi.

According to the Burundian authority, four provinces of Kirundo, Ngozi, Kayanza, Bujumbura and Gitega witnessed violence during the campaigns, Burundi’s Attorney General said that one person was killed and two injured during the confrontation between political party supporters in Kirundo province located in the northern part of the country.


The country is preparing to vote on May 20 for President Pierre Nkurunziza successor, ending the latter’s 15 years in the office.

Main opposition

The ruling party’s nominee is Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye, while Agathon Rwasa of CNL is the main opposition candidate.

Some opposition leaders have surprised their supporters by publicly expressing their support to the ruling party presidential candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Burundian diaspora will miss out voting due to the Covid-19 pandemic that has shut down most countries worldwide.

In a correspondence signed by the ministry of Foreign Affairs, Burundians in the diaspora were informed that due to the fight against coronavirus in different countries, bureau movements are impossible, and that the national commission in charge of election is unable to organise polls abroad.

Burundi has so far recorded 19 cases of the Coronavirus Covid-19, seven recoveries and one death.