Burundi president sets electoral campaign on 1 May

Burundi president Pierre Nkurunziza fixes the beginning of the electoral campaign to sensitize people to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No” in the upcoming constitutional referendum on May 1st. An MP elected from the opposition political coalition worries that administrative authorities may not treat all political parties equally.

Burundi president, Pierre Nkurunziza

Burundi president, Pierre Nkurunziza

The sensitization campaign for the constitutional referendum scheduled for May 17 will start on May 1 at 6 a.m and end on May 14 at 6 p.m, reads the presidential decree issued on April 23.

According to the decree, any political propaganda outside this period is prohibited. It specifies that only the political parties as well as the independents who have registered with the National Independent Electoral Commission-CENI are authorized to run a campaign. 26 political parties and one coalition of independents were authorized to run electoral campaigns, according to the CENI.

The decree specifies that politicians will use public media to broadcast propaganda adding that each political party or independent will be entitled to the same portion of propaganda space that will be provided by the CENI.

It also indicates that the places where public meetings are to be held will be managed by the local administration adding that the administrator will consider the first applicant if several political parties or independent request the same place.

Honorable Pierre Celestin Ndikumana, the chairman of the parliamentary group of MPs elected from Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition, says he is concerned about the implementation of this decree that gives freedom to all politicians to express their political opinions. “I am a bit concerned because some of the leaders of the ruling parties have recently released statements contrary to the decree’s content,” hesays. MP Ndikumana gives the example of the representative of the ruling party in Kabezi zone who, in a meeting held this weekend, called on the ruling party’s youth to follow closely anyone who would dare to sensitize people to vote ‘non’ in the upcoming constitutional referendum. He calls on administrative leaders to end violence and treat all politicians equally.The same MP has said supporters of Amizeroy’Abarundi political coalition are being subjected to ruthless repression since they are perceived to vote against the referendum.

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