Burundi: Optimism High On Burundi Elections


UNITED Nations (UN), Assistant Secretary General for Africa, Ms Bintou Keita, has expressed the intergovernmental organization's desire for peaceful, credible and democratic elections in Burundi.

Speaking during her meeting with the EAC Secretary General midweek, the UN official observed that peaceful elections in Burundi were a prerequisite for political stability in the nation and the region as a whole.

According to Ms Keita, the UN had high expectations that the EAC would play a central role in ensuring peaceful and credible elections in Burundi.

"We are willing and ready to work together with and support the EAC in this endeavor," she assured.

In May this year, Burundians will also exercise their democratic right five years after the East African nation got plunged into chaos ever since the incumbent embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention of running for a third term back in April 2015.

The country has witnessed political instability marked by violent clashes between government and opposition forces as well as the suppression of civil society, media and opposition groups-following the disputed decision by President Nkurunziza.

The political atmosphere in the neighboring country led to the commissioning of the Inter-Burundi Dialogue (IBD), an EAC initiative which seeks to resolve political tensions whipped up by the controversial general elections of 2015, under the facilitation of former Tanzania President, Benjamin William Mkapa.

In his rejoinder, EAC Secretary General Ambassador Liberat Mfumukeko informed the UN delegation that the EAC observes elections within the context of the National Constitutions of the Partner States.

He assured the delegation that preparations were underway for the launch of a longterm EAC Observer Mission that will monitor the Burundi electoral process in its entirety, as well as a short-term EAC Observer Mission that will monitor the polling only.

"I am confident that the peaceful spirit we have experienced during the party nominations will continue during and after elections," said the secretary general.

"The EAC is calling on all the people of Burundi to sidestep violence, regardless of the situation," he added. In 2018, Burundi promulgated a new Constitution.

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