21 December 2017

Burundi: Sahwanya Frodebu Party Refuses to Be Part of Electoral Commissions

Phénias Nigaba, spokesperson for Sahwanya FRODEBU says his party cannot send its candidates for the electoral commissions. He accuses the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of violating the law. He says the whole process of constitution amendment is illegal and against the Arusha Peace Agreement and Burundian Constitution.

The National Independent Electoral Commission-CENI has recently launched a call for candidates' application at the provincial level to help organise the upcoming constitutional referendum. SAHWANYA FRODEBU Party says, giving their candidates would mean helping them violate the constitution."We cannot offer candidates who would bury the Arusha Peace Agreement and the constitution that resulted from it", says Mr Nigaba adding that the Arusha Agreement is the fundamental pillar of social peace and security.

Mr. Nigaba argues that the draft constitution to be submitted to the referendum contains many articles that are against the Arusha Peace Agreement namely the extension of the presidential term and the withdrawal of the former Heads of State from the Senate. He adds that SAHWANYA FRODEBU strictly adheres to the Arusha Peace Agreement and the Constitution it has endorsed.

He reminds that there are Burundians who are deprived of their rights. "Many Burundians from inside and outside the country are deprived of their constitutional right to actively and peacefully participate in the entire referendum process," he says.

Agathon Rwasa, Chairman of Amizero y'Abarundi coalition and First Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, says applying to be a member of the Provincial Independent Electoral Commission-CEPI is a personal choice. He did not want to reveal whether or not his coalition has sent candidates for the commission.

Gabriel Rufyiri, Chairman of the corruption watchdog- OLUCOME, says he is against the call for CEPI applications. "The entire process of revision of the constitution is unilateral and antidemocratic".


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