Burundi: General Election in Burundi This Month Still On

Supporters of the ruling party, the National Council for Defence of Democracy – Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD).

There has been no indication so far that Burundi will cancel or delay election campaigns or the general election scheduled for later this month.

These will be the country's first self-financed elections after key donors suspended direct aid to the government in 2015.

They are also the country's way forward for stability in a country hit hard by decades of war and political crises.

"In less than two weeks we are going into campaigns for general elections and I assure you that the elections will be well conducted," said President Pierre Nkurunziza while addressing the public in the capital Gitega.

If they happen, they would usher in the first peaceful and democratic handover of power as President Nkurunziza's successor was appointed earlier in January during the ruling party CNDD-FDD convention.

Politicians in Burundi have backed the government's decision to move on with the campaigns and general elections to avoid a political crisis.

"Burundi is in a dilemma because we are supposed to come out of the political crisis through these elections despite the pandemic," said opposition leader and presidential candidate Agathon Rwasa.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has caused fear among citizens as sensitisation campaigns are limited to only a certain group of people.

But the ruling party said the party has sensitised its party members to adopt safety precautions as communicated by the authorities.

"We are aware of the pandemic and we are prepared with our militants to follow all safety measures," Nancy Ninette Mutoni the spokesperson of the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) told The EastAfrican in Bujumbura.

Burundi's ministry of Health recently announced the country's first fatality after one of the patients who tested positive for the virus died in Bujumbura.

According to the government, the patient who tested positive for Covid-19 and was hospitalised in the intensive care unit at Kira hospital died following complications related to other ailments.

Burundi has so far confirmed five coronavirus cases since the first case announced on March 31.

The government has encouraged citizens to wash their hands, keep social distance and provided a hotline for reporting any suspected cases. However, public gatherings, weddings, meetings, prayers in churches and mosques are still held.

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