2020 elections : controversial contributions

President Nkurunziza calls on Burundians to contribute to the 2020 elections. Three years before this important appointment, the spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior speaks of a duty to safeguard national sovereignty.

Written by Egide Nikiza, Hervé Mugisha, Agnès Ndirubusa, Christian Bigirimana and Renovat Ndabashinze and translated by Pierre Emmanuel Ngendakumana

: President Nkurunziza at the counter of the Central Bank after giving his contribution

President Nkurunziza at the counter of the Central Bank after giving his contribution

Obviously, Burundian authorities are ready for anything. They are determined to organize the 2020 elections without the “finicky” funding from Western partners. The call for contributions for fundraising has had the desired effect.
On Monday, August 7, Pierre Nkurunziza, Head of state, went to the central bank, to make a BIF 5 million cash deposit. He took the opportunity to call the Burundian population to follow in his footsteps.

The President of the Republic speaks of a patriotic gesture. “An expressive sign of a country’s independence lies in its ability to mobilize for the organization of elections through the contributions of its people.”

For the Burundian president, a country deprived of institutions is subject to chaos. Depending upon the capacity of each one, Burundians can contribute from BIF10 up to BIF 100 million. “We want the fundraising account to be well stocked in 2020”.

He also recalled the 2015 experience. Just a week before the elections, partners withdrew from the electoral process. He says nearly 70% of the means for holding the previous elections came from the contributions of the population. “Burundian people showed political maturity.”

He says he and his family do not stop there. This is just the beginning. He plans to contribute up to four times.

“A contribution = a duty”

With reference to Article 73 of the Constitution, Thérence Ntahiraja, Spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior urges Burundians to follow the example of the Head of State. “Everyone has a duty to contribute to the preservation of peace, democracy and social justice.”

It is not the argument that he lacks. Everyone knows the existence of Burundians who have not yet understood democratic principles. “In collaboration with some foreigners, they seek to gain power by force. This is evidenced by the abortive coup of 2015. “He says the period of coups d’état is over.”No one thought about the possibility of an attempt to overthrow democratic institutions in Burundi.”

He said partners channeled financial assistance in support of demonstrators and “plotters of the 13 May 2015 coup.
For him, the gesture of President Nkurunziza is part of safeguarding national sovereignty insofar as it contributes to the holding of elections.

Mr. Ntahiraja says Burundians have been pleading for the opening of this bank account. “In fact, this is one of the requests from the inter-Burundian dialogue led by Bishop Justin Nzoyisaba.” In this regard, this spokesman says politicians expressed the same concern in the meetings of the Forum of political parties.

He also cites the report of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) which notably recommends the contribution of Burundians to the organization of the 2020 elections under acceptable conditions.

He added that it has repeatedly been one of the recommendations of politicians’ workshops, including those held in Gitega province in October 2016 and last April as well as the one held in June in the capital Bujumbura. He also mentioned the Kayanza retreat which was organized by the office of the Ombudsman.


Nancy-Ninette Mutoni: “An act of support for democracy and national sovereignty”

Nancy-Ninette-Mutoni-250x300This commissioner in charge of communication within the ruling party Cndd-fdd says the approach of the President of the Republic is an act of support for democracy and national sovereignty: “The party thanks all Burundians who have understood that their democratic destiny will not wait for the help from outside and have already contributed to this noble action. She encourages those who have not yet done so to join the movement.
She concluded by urging all the Bagumyabanga (militants of Cndd-Fdd) to follow the example of the President of the Council of the Sages and serve as an example to others in the accomplishment of this citizenship gesture.

Abel Gashatsi: “Everyone will contribute according to their means”

Abel-Gashatsi-1-300x277The president of Uprona party welcomes the initiative of President Nkurunziza. Mr Gashatsi recalled that some donors who were supposed to finance the 2015 elections withdrew at the very last minute. It is also a good reason to call for contributions in order to avoid any unfortunate eventuality. Furthermore, as it is not compulsory, everyone will contribute in accordance with their means. This is for the sole purpose of holding peaceful elections in 2020.

Tatien Sibomana: “Only the exit from the current crisis is a priority”

Tatien-Sibomana-2-300x265For this political actor, it is not yet time to think about the electoral process. What is urgent now is to find a solution to the current crisis: “The number one priority would be resolving the crisis”. He says the only way out is to engage in an inclusive dialogue. Should the impoverished population be bled while it is struggling to survive? He concluded: “Solving the crisis will allow the thaw in cooperation what will give room for peaceful elections.”

Faustin Ndikumana: “This is an extra-budgetary contribution”

Faustin-Ndikumana-300x230For the president of the local NGO Parcem, an internal dynamics of self-financing of the 2020 elections is good. “This is part of so-called sovereignty spending.” However, this contribution should not be binding because it is an extra-budgetary one. He says the citizen’s contribution is part of the payment of taxes. 20% of the consumption budget of each citizen goes into the coffers of the State. According to him, the funds for the preparation of elections must be included in the budget. Faustin Ndikumana wonders the extent to which each citizen would be called to pay their small contribution in a context of impoverishment. Hence, the need to assess what is required to organize credible elections likely to get Burundians out of this political crisis: “Otherwise we will have elections whose results will be challenged, thus creating problems in addition to those we are currently facing.”

Hamza-Venant-Burikukiye-1-300x243Venant Hamza Burikukiye: “A way to encourage people”

For this activist of the Civil Society, this is a good example from the Head of State. “True to himself, he always walks the talk.” The gesture is a way of encouraging all the authorities of the country to do the same.