Burundi suspends Agathon Rwasa's main opposition party

Wednesday June 07 2023
Agathon Rwasa.

Burundi's main opposition leader Agathon Rwasa. His party has been suspended. FILE PHOTO | NMG


Burundi's Interior ministry announced the suspension of The National Freedom Council, the main opposition party, citing "irregularities" that critics called an attempt to stifle dissent ahead of the 2025 legislative elections.

The ministry said it was responding to complaints by eight leaders from the party, also known as CNL. These leaders were ousted after opposing the party's president, Agathon Rwasa, in two recent party congresses.

"All activities organised by irregularly constituted groups are suspended nationwide," the ministry said.

 "Only meetings aimed at easing tensions within the party are authorised," the ministry added.

Analysts say that the move announced in a letter released Tuesday by the Interior ministry, risks rekindling the political turmoil that has wracked the country in recent years.

Read: Purge keeps fragile peace in Burundi after coup talk


The party's secretary general, Simon Bizimungu, told AFP the ruling was a "serious violation of the constitution" and said it was "an attempt to weaken the CNL ahead of the 2025 legislative elections".

"There is no tension or opposition within the party. It's just a question of eight opponents without any influence, but who have the backing of public powers," he said.

Also read: Burundi opposition offices 'smeared with faeces'