Politics

Constitutional referendum must be held at all cost

The National Independent Electoral commission-CENI continues its process. After what it qualifies as massive registration of voters, the appointment by May is maintained.

CENI president said he was satisfied with the registration process. Opposition leaders met Mkapa on Monday (February 19th).

CENI president said he was satisfied with the registration process.
Opposition leaders met Mkapa on Monday (February 19th).

The National Independent Electoral Commission-CENI has announced proudly that the bet has been successful. Its boss, Pierre Claver Ndayicariye enthusiastically speaks about a “massive registration of voters, a record “. According to the figures, the commission had underestimated the population. It had counted on more than 4 million potential voters. In the end, it announced about 5 million citizens registered as voters, that is more than 112.01% of the expected population.

The figures that could be explained first by a mobilization by local authorities, which in some localities, was accompanied by fierceness, as it was said by several political opponents. Some also went to register, animated by a civic duty because they adhere to the speech delivered by the power in place.

The mobilization would then be explained by the fact that the entire political class on the spot, whether the political parties close to the government or the opponents called on their followers to register for the upcoming vote. Voters’ cards will count for the elections of 2020. And for politicians, it is better to avoid the unpleasant surprise of finding oneself without the paper given after registration.

These high figures could also be explained by fear of reprisals. It must be said that there has been a feeling of apprehension since the 2015 crisis. People thought their registration evidence could give them access to administrative offices.

Full speed ahead!

Now that the registration has ended, the National Independent Electoral Commission is already preparing for the future. The next major event is the constitutional referendum scheduled for next May. A project decried by the political class of the opposition. It presents it as a time bomb and speaks about “a potential civil war” as a consequence of this referendum process. This was said during its meeting with the facilitator Mkapa on Monday, February 19.

The leaders of the opposition platform in exile-CNARED and those of the internal opposition have asked the intervention of that former president. The latter and the Heads of State of the EAC are invited to intervene and stop Bujumbura in its tracks. At the end of the meeting, the reactions are mixed. The opposition accuses the EAC of inaction or even complacency towards Bujumbura. It hopes that the EAC Chiefs Summit on Friday 23 February will make a difference.


>>Reactions

Abel GashatsiUPRONA: “No forcing”

The president of UPRONA party says he is satisfied with the participation rate at this registration. He praises the enthusiasm of the people who participated without being forced. “Maybe there have been incidents, but they are just isolated cases. Abel Gashatsi rejected allegations of a commission that has grown the figures.

Rather, he mentions a vast mobilization campaign of the population that was conducted throughout the country.

Pencrace-Cimpaye-600x483CNARED: “Fanciful figures”

For the spokesman for the opposition coalition in exile, the figures put forward by CENI are fallacious, fanciful and sufficiently demonstrate the extent of manipulation around this referendum.

Pancrace Cimpaye said he was surprised that students, patients etc. were forced to register with a trend of 112% registered. The observed forcing indicates that the Burundian people do not have a keen interest in this referendum carrying all dangers behind it, says CNARED.

Gabriel Rufyiri, OLUCOME presidentOLUCOME: “A terrorized population”

This corruption watchdog speaks of a terrorized population, manipulated by politicians whose concerns are far from them. The president of OLUCOME speaks of a unilateral will of the government to amend the Constitution. Gabriel Rufyiri believes that necessary measures should be taken.

The international community should try to find an urgent and concerted solution “to bring the Burundian population out of misery.”

Gilbert-Bécaud-NjangwaONELOP: We were eyewitnesses to the registration

The general coordinator of the organization involved in election monitoring speaks of a registration that went well. Gilbert Bécaud Njangwa confirms the figures given by the National Independent Electoral Commission and says his organization was present in more than 7800 registration centers. “We were witnesses to the registration process. According to him, the few irregularities observed can be explained by the lack of technicality and professionalism of CENI agents. “The incidents that are not likely to call into question the work of the commission. “.


Analysis

Nothing seems to stop or cause Bujumbura to doubt

A participation rate that is beyond expectations. Spectacular, one would say, if it was not accompanied with a smell of … suspicion. With all the incidents that characterized this registration.

The commission led by Mr. Ndayicariye is already thinking about what is next. And for CENI, the closest horizon is the constitutional referendum scheduled for next May. Bujumbura continues its momentum. The political terms will be respect, despite what critics may say.

For its part, the internal opposition and those in exile are trying to be united. They have understood that they will hardly win against the power in place if they are dispersed. Certainly, it is hard to put the ego aside and set in motion a common strategy. After the Nairobi meeting, the opposition politicians met with Mkapa ,the facilitator, who called on them to be united. The former Tanzanian president would have knocked their heads together. “The suffering population is being held hostage by political leaders. This must stop.”

At this stage, it is difficult to tell how the mediation office deals with Bujumbura, which imperturbably continues the process. It has so far been unable to handle the failed talks. In addition, the facilitator has declared himself that he is incompetent to prevent the amendment to the Constitution.

In the last round of Arusha, Benjamin Mkapa had ruled out this possibility “in the name of the sovereignty of the Burundian people.”

Obviously, Bujumbura takes advantage of the inaction of the international community. The referendum will rule on the revision of the constitution. The power in place has brought the population to a standstill. Afraid or not, It responded to the call to register. Unless a new development, no major obstacle seems to stand on the horizon.

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