National Assembly approves new National Electoral Commission

The new National Independent Electoral Commission was approved by the National Assembly on Wednesday August 29, 2018. MPs from Amizero y’Abarundi coalition were absent.

The National Assembly approves the setting up of the new CENI

The National Assembly approves the setting up of the new CENI

Bujumbura government surprised everyone by sending a list of seven members of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) for approval. The secret was well kept. At Iwacu, the coverage invitation by the National Assembly referred instead to oral questions with the Minister of Justice. Iwacu reporters sent on the spot were surprised to realize that it was more about the National Electoral Commission, CENI. Was it a mere misunderstanding or a willingness to keep the secret until the last minute?

Approved members include Philippe Nzobonariba, Annociate Niyonkuru, Jean Anastase Hicuburundi, Hyacinthe Niyonzima, Serges Ndayiragije, Pierre-claver Kazihise and Marguerite Kamana.

That approval was made in the absence of MPs of Amizero y’Abarundi coalition who boycotted the plenary session. The chairman of the coalition’s parliamentary group, Pierre-Célestin Ndikumana, talks about an exclusion in choosing those members: “We have not been associated. Yet, the other parties, whose members are in the new CENI, have been contacted,” he said.

Pierre-Célestin Ndikumana wonders about the criteria by which Bujumbura government made that choice. “We are the second largest political force with only one member at CENI while UPRONA party has two.”
The Upper Chamber also studied and approved the list of these members of the new National Independent Electoral Commission. The term of the former CENI which was chaired by Pierre Claver Ndayicariye ends on September 5.


Tatien Sibomana: “It’s a refusal of dialogue”

Untitled-10 copyFor this political actor, it is the continuity of the use of force by the ruling party. “They have just set up a new National Electoral Commission without considering other potential competitors.” For him, this is one of the consequences of the new Constitution which gives tremendous power to the Head of state. With the imminent resumption of the inter-Burundian dialogue, Tatien Sibomana interprets it as a refusal of dialogue. “After the establishment of a unilateral CENI and electoral code later, the power has just put an end to all the discussions on the road map.”


Abel Gashatsi: “We promise to support the new electoral commission”

Abel GashatsiThe president of UPRONA party says he appreciated the establishment of a new CENI. “We hope that the commission will prepare the 2020 elections in full transparency and freedom.” It will work for the interest of the country and the strengthening of democracy. Abel Gashatsi assures that his party has been consulted. “That’s why we promise to support it.” He added that it is difficult for everyone to be represented in the commission considering the political formations that exist in the country.



Pancrace Cimpaye: “The 2020 elections will be another electoral farce”

Pancrace CimpayeFor the former spokesman for the platform of opponents in exile, Bujumbura government does not lose anything. “A one-color electoral commission is proof that the 2020 elections will be another electoral farce and one more crisis,” he said in a tweet. Mr. Pancrace thinks that this is a strong message about the talks scheduled for soon.




Venant-Hamza Burikukiye: “An inclusive electoral commission”

Hamza-Venant-Burikukiye-1-300x243“Given its composition, the origin of its members, this new electoral commission is inclusive,” says Venant-Hamza Burikukiye, spokesperson for the Platform of Civil Society. According to him, all the ethnic groups, different political parties and the civil society are represented. For those who say that this CENI should result from a dialogue, Mr. Burikukiye invites them to interpret the Constitution correctly. “They must learn to respect the institutions, especially the President of the Republic: He does not follow any injunction. He only refers to the law.




OLUCOME awaits a ” consensual ” CENI

Gabriel RufyiriGabriel Rufyiri, president of OLUCOME, a local corruption watchdog, refers to a strategy of positioning the government and its allies. This CENI can in no way inspire confidence given that it is only made up of members of the ruling party and its acolytes. According to Gabriel Rufyiri, the establishment of this electoral commission had to have the consent of all political parties, civil society, etc. He called on the East African and International Community to redouble their efforts in organizing the 5th round of the inter-Burundian external dialogue “to provide answers to the challenges that Burundi is faced with including the establishment of a consensual CENI”.


Mini-portraits of the 7 members of the new CENI

NzobonaribaPhilippe Nzobonariba (Hutu), from Muramvya province. The current secretary general of the government and its spokesman.


AnnonciateAnnociate Niyonkuru (Tutsi), originally from Kayanza province. She is a member of UPRONA party and was previously the Vice President of CENI.

Jean Anastase Hicuburundi (Hutu), a native of Bujumbura city and a member of CNDD-FDD party. AnastaseHe was in charge of legal affairs in the outgoing CENI.


Ir Serge Ndayiragije (Tutsi) from Bururi Province. He is the Minister of Communication and Media and a Serges Ndayiragije ministre de la bonne gouvernancemember of Amizero y’Abarundi coalition.


Dr kazihiseDr. Pierre-Claver Kazihise (Hutu), native of Mwaro province. He is well known in the spheres of civil society and holds the position of Director General of the National Institute of Public Health-INSP.


Hyacynthe NiyonzimaHyacinthe Niyonzima (Tutsi) from Kayanza Province.

MArguérite Kamana au milieuMarguerite Kamana (Hutu). She is from Bubanza province.

Written by Arnaud Igor Giriteka, Christian Bigirimana,

Rénovat Ndabashinze, Agnès Ndirubusa

Translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

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