Politics

Contributions to 2020 elections / The Catholic Church denounces a forcing

The Episcopal Conference of Burundi Catholic Bishops (CECAB) is worried about the forcing used in the collection of contributions to the 2020 elections. The Ministry of the Interior reassures.

The Catholic Bishops of Burundi: “The contribution can only be paid at the diocesan level”

The Catholic Bishops of Burundi: “The contribution can only be paid at the diocesan level”

The Catholic Bishops of Burundi say the majority of people to whom the government asks for contributions are also members of the same family of Catholic Christians.

They also denounce the way in which this collection operation is conducted: “There are those who are abused and forced to contribute twice or three times whereas they have no means.”

The bishops also want more transparency. They say the total amount of money necessary for the elections should be known beforehand. “In this way, we would know the amount already collected and what remains to be contributed. Thus, everyone could contribute according to their means and the step already taken.

Finally, they insist on the contribution of the Catholic Church as a family. “The catholic contribution can only be paid at the diocesan level “. They clarify that the latter is made up of parishes, religious communities, charities such as health centers, schools, orphanages and hospices for the elderly or disabled.


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Léonce-Ngendakumana-295x300“The worries of the church are well founded”

“Normally, any collection of money is in the realm of the law,” said Léonce Ngendakumana, vice president of Sahwanya FRODEBU party. “The concerns of the Church are founded because the 2020 elections rubric already exists in the budget law”. He opposes the creation of extra-budgetary accounts for this electoral process.

“They are handled by individuals and in a way which is not transparent.” Mr Ngendakumana denounces a kind of diversion. Until today, he says, we do not know the amount for the elections and who will manage it.

Instead of forcing people to contribute, this opponent asks the government to create an environment propitious for credible, transparent, peaceful and democratic elections.

“In these circumstances, there is no need to put pressure on people to contribute. They will do it willingly and easily. ”

For the deputy chairman of Sahwanya FRODEBU party, demanding contributions for the 2020 elections is a violation of the Constitution.”The constitution only recommends a solidarity contribution in case of calamities or natural disasters”. He wonders if the “2020 Elections are a calamity.”

Kefa Nibizi“The Catholic Church must not evade the civic duty of contribution”

Kefa Nibizi, Chairman of FRODEBU Nyakuri Iragi Rya Ndadaye, believes that as recommended by the word of God, the Catholic Church must obey those who govern. “It is the rule. Why would it evade the civic duty of contribution while other institutions have already done it? As for the amount considered huge, he finds that only the poorest households are not able to pay BIF 2000 per year. “Those ones can be spared.”

Pascal BarandagiyeThe Home Affairs Ministry gives clarifications

“We never sent anyone to ask for contributions to the population, what does not prevent a church, an association … from contributing from its own budget and not through the pockets of its members, ” said on Wednesday, April 11, Pascal Barandagiye, Minister of Home Affairs.”

According to him, the bishops’ statement came out just after a hearing at his office. On this occasion, the minister says the bishops showed him a contribution slip for 2020 elections.

He indeed believes that the joint ministerial ordinance is clear. The latter establishes three categories: farmers, civil servants as well as that of religious denominations, associations, NGOs, traders, companies, etc.

For this third category, the contribution is deposited in a nearby bank, at “La Poste or COOPEC”. “The bill is deposited in the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

On the population side, it will be done in two stages. “The month of July during the harvest and in December, during the preparations for the year-ending celebrations”. It is the administration that will be in charge of the collection. He reminded that the contribution will be voluntary and the collectors will have to give receipts as proof that they received the contribution.

“What are the proofs that these people who ask for contributions will then present to the population, churches, associations…? To avoid this anarchy, Minister Barandagiye insists that these “isolated” practices stop. He warns: “For those who are going to be caught, the law will be applied and we will consider them as thieves.”

Regarding the amount needed for the 2020 elections, he calls for patience. “The technicians are working hard on it.” He adds that a commission has been set up to monitor the progress of the contributions and will draw up a balance sheet periodically. “Once the desired amount is reached, the contributions will stop.”

By Arnaud Igor Giriteka, Hervé Mugisha, Rénovat Ndabashinze

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