Burundi: Govt to Go Ahead With 2020 Polls

President Pierre Nkurunziza

Arusha — Burundi government has said it would go ahead with preparations of next year's general elections as the country's security situation has tremendously improved.

"Peace and security are prevailing throughout the country", it said in a Memorandum to the East African Community (EAC) heads of state.

The authorities, however, maintain elections was an internal affairs and sovereign matter "and it is the responsibility of the government to organize them".

The 16 page Memorandum was presented to the EAC leaders during their recent summit here, focusing on the current security situation there after the 2015 chaos.

The document, exclusively obtained by The Citizen, insists the holding of elections rests on the legally-constituted National Electoral Independent Commission (Ceni).

Burundi's position of next year's polls comes in the wake of a report by the EAC-initiated Inter-Burundi Dialogue which expressed reservations on the role of the government in the process.

The report on the Dialogue, presented to the EAC leaders the same day by its Facilitator former president Benjamin Mkapa, was deeply concerned by the "current political situation in Burundi" ahead of the polls.

But the Memorandum was explicit on preparations of 2020 elections, saying ground laying for the process has been done "democratically in compliance with the law".

According to it, all Burundi institutions were working to ensure success to the upcoming elections and that fund raising is already underway to the effect.

On the EAC-brokered Inter-Burundi Dialogue, the government maintains it considers the exercise under the former Tanzania president (Mr. Mkapa) to be over.

"Inter-Burundi Dialogue under the facilitation of EAC has almost reached its end. External stakeholders should now adhere to the roadmap", it said.

Burundi government has stressed, however, that just-concluded dialogue was not intended to establish any transitional government "to serve the interests of those who are scared of democratic elections".

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