Burundi: Opposition Remain Fragmented As Campaigns Start

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

The campaigns for next month's general elections in Burundi are official set to begin this Monday.

Burundi's ruling party CNDD-FDD is expected to launch its campaigns in the country's new capital Gitega, as the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza is expected to present the new ruling party's presidential flag bearer Evariste Ndayishimiye.

The presidential and legislative campaigns are expected to last for 21 days, however some opposition leaders have surprised their supporters by publicly expressing their support to the ruling party presidential candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye.

"We congratulate Evariste Ndayishimiye the presidential candidate of CNDD-FDD to have had the support of some lost sheep of the UPRONA. Our wish is for the elections to be free and democratic," said Burundi's First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo.

Mr Sindimwo is the presidential flag bearer for the UPRONA political party in next month's general election, but a faction of the party held a meeting earlier last week in Bujumbura to reject his candidacy and vowed to support the ruling party's candidate.

In a rare move, ADC party led by Alice Nzomukunda has also officially announced that it was supporting the CNDD-FDD presidential candidate.

This year's election is funded by Burundians themselves after donors withdrew.

President Nkurunziza, who took power in 2005 from Domitien Ndayizeye, announced on June 7, 2018 that he will not contest in this year's election after serving his five-year term.

But not everyone is going into the campaigns happy. The National Council for Liberation (CNL) led by Agathon Rwasa, who is the current deputy speaker of parliament, has raised concern over the arbitrary arrests of his supporters.

CNL spokesperson Thérénce Manirambona said that more than 200 members of his political party are in custody, some are beaten and intimidated by ruling party's youth wing, Imbonerakure. However the ruling party has denied the allegations.

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