2018 Referendum

On this May 17, 2018, a constitutional referendum is being held throughout Burundi. Iwacu has dispatched its reporters in different corners of the country to update its audience on the ongoing process every hour.

PeterAt 6:45a.m.: Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi President alongside his spouse cast a vote at Buye Fundamental School in Mwumba Commune of Ngozi province.

6a.m: In Musaga, Bwiza, Nyakabiga neighborhoods, there were long queues.At Muramvya II Fundamental School, the vote began at 6 a.m. The agents of the polling station could not take an oath because they hadn’t the texts. Only supervisors from CNDD-FDD party were present.In Bubanza province, at Bubanza II Fundamental School, the vote also began at6 a.m. In 10 polling stations, there was only one supervisor from Amizero y’Abarundi Coalition while those from the ruling party were present in all polling stations.

In Mpanda, at Gifurwe II polling station, the vote began on time. Supervisors from CNDD-FDD and UPRONA parties were on the spot. Trainees at Mpanda Hospital who had not registered in this commune could not be allowed to vote.

6h 30: At Saint Etienne polling place in Rohero zone, the vote has alreadybegun. Long queues were already observed at the 6 polling stations.

In Bugabira commune of Kirundo province, there were 31 centers and 93polling stations. At 6:30 a.m, at Bugabira Fundamental School polling station, 88 of 1757 expected voters had already cast a vote .The supervisors who were present were from CNDD-FDD, UPRONA, Capes +, Codip and CPBU Church.

At 6:50a.m.: The vote has not started yet at Muramvya Fundamental School
Agents of the electoral commission report a lack of materials such as the ink pad. Voters are angry. They have just spent more than an hour without knowing
when the vote will start.

At 7a.m, in Musigati commune of Bubanza province at the polling station which is located at Lycée Musigati, an elector who presented a registration paper has not yet had been authorized to vote. The agents of the National independent electoral commission (CENI) explain that they do not see the registration number on the paper. He must wait for authorization from the Electoral commission at the national or provincial level (CENI, CEPI).
In 6 polling stations, there are only 3 supervisors from Amizero y’Abarundi opposition coalition. Those from CNDD-FDD party are present in all polling stations.

At 7:25a.m: At Gisovu High School in Bubanza province, there are already long
queues of voters. In 8 polling stations, election supervisors from
the ruling party CNDD-FDD and Amizero y’Abarundi political coalition are present . Observers sent by civil society organizations are also present. They are mainly from La Fontaine Isoko and CODIP.

7:25 a.m.: At the 9th Avenue in Bwiza zone in Bujumbura City, the vote has already begun. The agents of the National Independent electoral commissionwere sworn in before of voters.7:30: In Nyakabiga neighborhood, voters lined up in front of the polling stations. Those who cannot read have difficulty finding the number of their polling station.7:35: At Kamenge Basic School (last stop), the vote began at 6a.m. There are 3 centers: Teza, Twinyoni and Songa. Teza has 7 polling stations with3250 expected to vote. Twinyoni has 6 polling stations with 3500 people expected to vote and Songa has 9 polling stations for 4700 voters.

So far, everything is going well except voters who are standing to vote on the spot while they have registered in the country. Augustin Hakizimana, one of the presidents of the polling station, says they must wait for the instructions given by the National independent Electoral Commission-CENI.7:40 a.m: The president of Amizero y’Abarundi parliamentary group,Pierre Celestin Ndikumana, announced that the representatives of Amizero y’Abarundi in the commune of Mugongomanga in Bujumbura province were not allowed to supervise the election. He reported the same case at Kirombwe and Gitongo polling stations in Kanyosha.

8 a.m.: At the voting centers of Kobero, Rabiro, Kuwingoma and Christos Fundamental Schools, all the election supervisors were fromCNDD-FDD party. There were no representatives of civil society organizations. At the polling place of Kuwingoma Fundamental School, polling station Number 3, a member of the said station was absent, said Vincent Nzisabira, president of that polling station. He was replaced on the spot by a new member who was immediately given a training.

8 a.m: in Ngagara 4 neighborhood. There are five polling stations. The expected number of voters is 2535. The vote kicked off at 6:45 am. Each polling station has a margin of 50 voters who go beyond the planned number. These include military, police, supervisors and journalists.
8a.m: In Muyinga province, on Ecole Fondamentale Islamique, Muyinga Communal High School, Karemera and Cibari polling stations, the vote started on time. Supervisors from CACEDEBU and ONELOP-Burundi were present.

8:15 a.m.: In Cankuzo center, out of 14 polling stations divided into 4 voting centers, there is only one representative of the “No” supporters, two representatives of the civil society. The CNDD-FDD, UPRONA, and FNL parties each sent its supervisors.8:30 a.m.: In Kigamba Commune, Ngoma Center,105 out of 450 voters have already voted. In less than two hours, 100out of 450 have already voted in Rusagara.
In Cankuzo commune center, at Cankuzo High School polling station, 757 have already voted on 2900 expected voters 2 hours after the beginning of the poll.

8:45 a.m.: In Bujumbura City (Nyakabiga Zone), there are four voting centers: Nyakabiga Fundamental School, EPJP Nyakabiga, the one from the Faculty of Economics and the one from FACAGRO at the University of Burundi. Observers from CNDD-FDD and Amizero y’Abarundi were inside 11 polling stations of the 2 voting centers.Some of the presidents of polling stations say they are not authorized to give the number of people who have already voted before the poll is over. They recognize that the voting process is slow. Voter verification on the lists takes time. We have not respected the alphabet.8:50 a.m.: Queues of voters that were observed very early in the morning in front of polling stations in some communes in Bubanza province are decreasing considerably .They include the Bubanza II polling station and the one atMusigati parish.

8:45 am: At the polling station of Gasenyi II Fundamental school inTaba district, in Gihosha zone (Bujumbura city), voters came before 6a.m. The activity ofvoting started around 6am. Long queues were observed. Of the 4033 expected voters, 1016 had already voted.8:50 a.m.: the vote started at 6:30 am in Ngagara Q5. There are five polling stations. The expected number of voters is 2340. There are fewer voters. Two voters had registered in Ngozi and the polling station officials prevented them from voting. They were frustrated.

9a.m: Some people who have registered at the Lycée communal Bururi were transferred to Bururi High School. Some refuse to go there and asked that other lists be added, arguing that they should not be the victims of the error. A grenade is reported to have been launched yesterday at 11 p.m. on Gatanga hill, Munini area in Bururi commune of the same province. It was on Muyange polling station. No damage was recorded.

9a.m: Muyinga Province, Butihinda Commune: Only two representatives of Amizero y’Abarundi independent Coalition are present in two polling stations of the 25 polling stations divided into 5 voting centers.

9:05 a.m.: Masango Primary School in Muramvya province. There are 4 polling stations. Of 1559 expected voters, 719 have already voted. There was confusion on the finger to be put in the ink after the vote. Initially, they used the index finger but after listening to CENI’s president on the radio, they changed and now use the thumb. Only the agents of the party in power and an observer from ACOPA are present.

9:10 am: At Nyakabiga Communal High School (Bujumbura City), voters are numerous. Amizero y’Abarundi is represented by a single supervisor. CNDD-FDD is represented by six supervisors. At Mutanga-Sud Fundamental School, the vice president of the center gives no information. “Only the president of Mukaza Communal electoral Commission has the right to give information,” he says.

9:20 a.m: At Buye Fundamental School of Mwumba commune in Ngozi Province, at the polling station number one, out of 473 expected voters, 173 have already voted. At the polling station number three, 194 people have already voted out of 468 expected voters. At the polling station number four, 225 out of 445 voters have already voted while 199 out of 462 have cast a vote at the polling station number two.9:20a.m: Kayanza Province: In Murima zone, at the polling station located at Magamba Trade School, out of 887 voters, 313 had already voted at 8:30. No political supervisor or observer was present at this station. In other centers visited, there were observers from CNDD-FDD party and Amizero y’Abarundi coalition.9:25 am: At Gisovu High School polling station in Bubanza Province, voters waiting to vote were numerous between 6a.m. and 7a.m.

9:30 am: At Complexe Scolaire de Kanyosha (Bujumbura City):Some people were banned from voting because they have not registered at this center. A poll official told them, “listen to the radio. If CENI authorizes it, you will vote “.

10a.m: Bujumbura City: At a polling station located at Gikungu High School, about 1500 out of 3925 expected people have already voted.

10a.m: The first vice president, Gaston Sindimwo, turns up at Nyakabiga Communal High School polling station to vote.At the same center, students who are undergoing a training here in Bujumbura are allowed to vote if they present a letter proving that they are doing trainings.10 a.m: At the polling station in Kamenge area, a voter was arrested because he has torn up his ballot.10:H5: At three voting centers in Mabayi, there are only two political supervisors of CNDD-FDD and Amizero y’Abarundi.

10H30: Bujumbura City Hall: At ECOFO Kibanguiste voting center in Mutakura, there are 10 polling stations. Of 5408 expected voters, 2037 have already voted.

10:30 a.m: Ngagara Q4: there are 5 polling stations. Out of 2625 expected voters,1273 have already voted.

10H35: Cibitoke Province, Bukinanyana Commune, at the voting center ofMasango Fundamental School, Jacques Niyongabo, CENI agent, stuck thestamp in a box reserved for presidential elections.
He was stopped and investigations are underway to find out his intention10:40: Province Kayanza: in Ruganza I out of 406 voters, 287 had already voted at 10:00.

At some polling stations, additional voters were not accepted because they have reached the number required by CENI which is 50 people. This is the case at ECOFO Acces School de Musave at Kayanza provincial capital.

10H45: Kigamba commune of Cankuzo province, the supervisors areonly from CNDD-FDD and UPRONA parties. 55% of the voters had alreadyvoted.11a.m: At Ruziba High School polling station in Bujumbura city, about 1200voters out of the expected 2500 have already cast a vote. People who have not registered at this center are forbidden to vote.They are frustrated as they were obliged to wait. They have been there since 6a.m.

11a.m: 3 men get arrested in Ruziba. They voted twice10H10: Muyinga province: There are supervisors from “NO” supporters. On the other hand, CNDD-FDD is represented by two supervisors at each polling station. Furthermore, no representatives from the civil society organizations were presentat more than 23 polling stations visited until 8:30 a.m.

11H15: Three people including the representative of Amizero y’Abarundi in Bururi province got apprehended. They would have been influencing people to vote No. They are currently detained in the dungeon of police in the capital of the same province.

11:15: Bujumbura City (Cibitoke Zone): at Don de Dieu High School, there are 7 polling stations. 3363 voters are expected. By 10:45 a.m, 2249 voters had already voted. There are 5 supervisors from UPRONA party and 14 from CNDD-FDD and one of Fonabogede association.
11:20 a.m: The President of the Assembly Pascal Nyabenda has just voted in Mpanda.

11H 20: Gitega Province: The constitutional referendum process began normally at different voting centers in the province of Gitega. For the moment, no irregularity is reported.

11:20: Cankuzo Province, Gisagara commune, no supervisor from Amizero y’Abarundi at all the centers and polling stations visited. Only those from CNDD- FDD were present.11H 30: Rumonge Province: the president of the parliamentary group of Amizero y’Abarundi, Pierre Célestin Ndikumana, speaks of disorder in this province. According to him, 72 supervisors of Amizero y’Abarundi coalition were chased from all polling stations. “This is really unheard of. At Minago fundamental school, a president of a polling station fought with a voter in the voting booth. He wanted him to vote Yes but the voter refused. “MP Ndikumana says voters are accompanied to the polling booths almost everywhere.

11:30 a.m: Province Kayanza: Burundian Ombudsman, Edouard Nduwimana, just voted in Kigarama-Businde polling center in his native commune of Gahombo in Kayanza province.

11:30a.m: Muramvya commune: at ECOFO Murambi, there are two polling stations. Out of 777 expected voters, 473 have already voted. Two people were not allowed to vote although they had registration papers and national identity cards. They were not on the list. Electoral agents were idling, waiting for voters.

11.45 a.m.: A member of Amizero y’Abarundi coalition was arrested by the police while teaching to vote No in the ranks. His cell phone contained messages of intimidation. When the police took him to the police station, two other members of Amizero intervened and released him after threatening the police officer holding him. The three ran away