2020 elections:Towards electoral showdown?

The second political force in the country CNL has not waited for the end of the triple ballot to denounce the elections” marred by several irregularities.”

Gitega:Voting without major incidents

In Gitega, the voters woke up early in the morning. At 6 a.m., there were already long queues outside the polling stations. Men in uniform were ensuing safety. There were also reports of arrested opponents.

A young man distributing voter cards at ECOFO Bubu on the polling day.

On Musama hill, in Kabanga area of Giheta commune in Gitega province, at ECOFO Bubu, there are long lines of men and women. In three polling stations, 1109 voters are expected to vote.

In these times of a coronavirus pandemic, hand washing kits have been installed. There is a tap at this school.
On site, the voting cards are distributed alongside national identity cards. Everyone receives their card on call. The distributors are young people.

Meanwhile, the agents of the three polling stations are busy. They install the materials: ballot boxes, voting booths, ballots, indelible ink, benches and desks for the agents and observers. All officers wear protective masks against Covid -19.

With a slight delay, the president of this voting center launches the voting operation. In front of the voters present, all the agents of the three polling stations take the oath. He shows that the ballot boxes are empty before closing them.

Some observers such as the Collective Avenir without Borders (KASAF) and the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, are present. Subsequently, MAC will also come. Observers from the CNDD-FDD and CNL parties are on site.
At this center, many men in uniform are present. Several journalists are also on site. This is where the candidate of the ruling party will vote.

Wait for the results at home

Evariste Ndayishimiye, CNDD-FDD candidate voting

At 9 a.m., the number of men in uniform increases. In the meantime, a drone is noticed. This arouses the curiosity of the majority of rural voters. “This is the first time I have seen this little plane. It probably sees everything we do,” they whisper. And a young man adds: “Impossible to hide.”

Three ambassadors are on site: that of Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria. They are there as observers.

Evariste Ndayishimiye, accompanied by his wife, arrives at 9:30 a.m. His security is reinforced. Many of his men wear bulletproof vests. Some voters applaud him. He will spend a few minutes on the waiting line before entering the polling station 2. This is where the three ambassadors and other national observers are located.

“After voting, you have to go back home to do other activities and wait for the results which will be announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission after counting votes,” he told reporters.

He asks the population to accept the results as they will be announced. We did not come, he explains, to a court to settle disputes. The candidate of the ruling party CNDD-FDD reminds that it is Burundians who vote and not the leaders of political parties only. “If it is a national matter, whoever tries to disrupt it will also suffer losses.”

CNL agents get arrested

Two CNL agents arrested by the administrator of Giheta commune.

At around 9 a.m., Giheta’s communal administrator, Alexis Manirakiza, arrives on site. He seems to be looking for someone. He is accompanied by a policeman. After making a tour around queues, he goes backs. Upon his return, two young men will be arrested and handcuffed. They try to resist, explaining themselves. But, they will end up being boarded in a white vehicle commonly called “station”.
According to information gathered on the spot, these two young people were CNL agents. Our sources say one will be allowed to join a polling station as an observer.

Such an arrest was described as arbitrary by Térence Manirambona, spokesman for CNL party. Reached by phone, he said that he did not understand how an administrator arrested agents in the presence of CENI representatives on the spot. “It’s really deplorable!”

Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Public Security, said that the two young people arrested were Nestor Nizigiyimana and Boris Nduwayo. “The two were making propaganda on the queues saying that they were observers when it was false.”
Speaking to the media, he took the opportunity to make the security assessment until 10 a.m.: “There were no major incidents. Voting is taking place in peace and serenity.”

In the province, a few cases of arrest were reported. At Nyabisindu, Ecofo Fraternité, at 8:40 a.m., Mr Nkurikiye speaks about Marguerite Ndimaso, caught with a specimen of the ballot paper of CNL party. Samuel Dusabedushimitse was also arrested in Nyakibingo at 8:50 a.m., in rural Gitega. Mr. Nkurikiye said that the latter was doing propaganda on the queues.

In Mutaho, in Rwisabi, he reports on two arrested people. They are Isaac Niyonkuru, caught with a voter card from another person, and Shabani Niyon kuru, an agent of CNL party. “He came late and wanted to create a mess to drive out the voters.”

No voters beyond 5 p.m.

In most polling stations, the end of voting time was respected. At Ecofo Bubu, at 4 p.m., it’s time to count votes. At the voting center located at Lycée Communal Urbain, there was an extension of 30 minutes.

At 4.30 p.m., the count begins in the presence of observers from political parties. The operation will end around 7 p.m. And the observers contacted affirm that the poll was peaceful and transparent. They signed on the minutes.

At the polling center located at the Lycée communal, there was an extension of one hour. Counting started at 5 p.m. This was due to the one-hour delay in the start of voting activities. There too, various electoral agents say that the voting activities went well.

Ngozi: CNL party denounces “massive irregularities”

Despite a relatively calm situation, the opposition party CNL denounces massive fraud in several communes of Ngozi province. Party leaders speak about proxies signed by hill chiefs, people who voted more than once, expelled observers, imprisoned candidates, etc. For the ruling CNDD-FDD, there are no irregularities.

Agathon Rwasa in the queue in the middle of other voters from Ciri waiting to vote.

It is 5.30 a.m. this Wednesday, May 20. It is the day of the triple ballot: the presidential, legislative and communal elections. The commune of Ngozi is peaceful. Very few people are on the street. Not many cars or motorcycles can be seen. A few police officers are walking the streets. Everything is normal. It’s cold. The fog still covers the hills.

A few kilometers from the city of Ngozi, towards Gashikanwa commune, we begin to observe a movement of people. At a polling station at a primary school, lines of people are already waiting to vote. It is 5:45 a.m.

There is no presence of soldiers but few police officers can be seen. On Masasu hill in Kiremba commune, people in large numbers rush to the various polling stations.

On Ciri hill in the same commune of Kiremba, four long lines are visible. It is 6:20 am. Voting has already started. Men, women and even children are moving in the playground of Ciri Basic School. Others are in small groups, a few meters from the voting center. “We will vote when our leader arrives,” they say. Some had been there since 4 a.m. It is on this hill that the CNL presidential candidate, Agathon Rwasa, was born.

The squawk…

The CNL party presidential candidate Agathon Rwasa, voting in Ciri, his native locality.

In Ciri locality, several policemen were noticed. Soldiers were also present. They were discreet. A new thing for the inhabitants of this locality: the police used a drone. It swirled above their heads. They were amazed. People were piling up all around. In this polling center, there were 4 polling stations. The presidents of these polling stations explained the procedure to voters.

The party observers presented their letters of accreditation. Only the CNDD-FDD and CNL parties were represented in the 4 polling stations. There was also a single observer sent by religious denominations. 1349 voters were expected at this center.

Polling station agents had protective masks against the Covid-19. There was no hand washing device for voters. It was around 8:30 a.m. when a single bucket got installed at the entrance of the voting center.

Around 10 a.m., there was a hubbub in Ciri. People were running around. They deserted the queues. “He’s coming,” they said loudly.

It was the CNL candidate, Agathon Rwasa. With his wife, he queues for a few minutes. The crowd gathers around him.
When it is time to vote, the situation becomes more complicated. Journalists are prohibited from entering the polling station to take pictures.

The president of the polling station indicates that it is on order of the president of the communal electoral commission. Agathon Rwasa gets annoyed: “I don’t understand why journalists are refused entry when they have badges recognized by the National Media Regulator and the Ministry of Communication. Why are journalists prevented from covering what is happening in Ciri when they covered this event in other localities?”

About twenty minutes later, journalists are allowed to take pictures thanks to the intervention of the president of the communal electoral commission in Ngozi.

In his speech, Agathon Rwasa deplored an excessive insecurity against CNL militants, with the arrest of hundreds of CNL agents as well as the assassination, on Tuesday night, of a CNL activist in Buruhukiro area of Rumonge commune. Agathon Rwasa also protested against the fact that access to social media was blocked on that Election Day.

“This is a clear sign that the frauds have been planned, but this will not prevent the turning point we make from being a reality or the change we expect tonight.” This candidate called for everyone’s responsibility. “Burundi has the right to a better and brighter future”. He declared that if the CNL is not satisfied with the results proclaimed by the National Electoral Commission, they will proceed to appeal to the competent bodies.

As for President Nkurunziza, he voted in his native commune of Mwumba at the polling center located at Buye Fundamental School. He arrived at noon on a bicycle and under escort.

In his speech, he was delighted that the date of May 20, 2020 arrived “at the time when there is peace and security in Burundi.”

According to him, these elections have a particular cachet because they were financed entirely by the Burundian population. “In the past, there was always a hand from the donor who demanded or imposed what must be done.” He urged Burundians to understand that they must live with their means and their strength. “We must always accept the verdict of the polls and understand that elections do not keep people alive. Elections are a step towards consolidating peace and strengthening democracy. They allow us to have responsible leaders and consistent programs for a better future. ”

Irregularities reported in Ngozi province

The President of the Republic, Pierre Nkurunziza, voting in Buye.

“What really hurt us was the counting time. It became obvious that the fraud was prepared in advance,” said one of the CNL officials in the province. According to him, the CNL’s agents and observers were chased or dismissed in favor of those of the ruling party.

“In Ciri, people almost fought.” When the time came to prepare the minutes at the polling stations, he continued, the presidents of the polling stations refused to allow the agents to give their comments while the law authorizes them to do so.

According to CNL party, fraud also appeared in the proxies. “The hill chiefs wrote proxies in violation of the law. In Masama area in Nyamurenza commune, Bosco Ndayishimiye, chief of the Imbonerakure at the provincial level, came to vote for a person who is in Uganda when this was not authorized.”

In addition, according to the CNL, the secret voting was not respected. “Some people were watching the voters in the voting booth.

“CNL party also deplores the imprisonment of its activists on the grounds that they taught people who to vote on the queues. “In Gashikanwa commune, Désiré Nshimirimana and Sylvestre Ndayishimiye, candidates for the municipal elections, were arrested on polling day. They got incarcerated in the dungeons of the Gashikanwa commune.”
According to police sources in Gashikanwa, Désiré Nshimirimana was heard and asked to pay BIF 400,000 to be freed.

For all these irregularities observed, the president of the Provincial Electoral Commission in Ngozi(CEPI) is accused. “All these irregularities were made with the complicity of the president of CEPI. When we asked him, he didn’t even listen to us. We suffered a categorical rejection from him,” Iwacu tried to reach the president of CEPI Ngozi but in vain.

As for Jules Ndatirima, president of CNDD-FDD in Ngozi province, he assures that there were no irregularities observed in this province: “The elections went well.” He emphasizes that they will accept the results of the ballot boxes: “We will thank the Lord if we win. And if we lose, we will take it as such.”

Ruyigi:Need to return to normal life

Voters got up very early to vote in some polling stations. If the populations weren’t required tocast their votes, many would have already returned home before 11 a.m. The half of the voters has already voted in the morning.

Queues in front of the polling stations at the Ecofo Gasanda center, Wednesday at 6:20 am.

From Dutwe to Rangi localities, passing through downtown Ruyigi province, voters were numerous in front of the doors of the polling stations which were housed in primary and secondary school classes. Ballot boxes, ballots of all candidates of political parties, independent candidates, indelible ink, flashlights, and electoral files were complete in 18 offices that were visited. According to polling station members and voters, the elections started at 6 a.m. “The ballot boxes were empty, we checked it,” said Marc, who had just voted his candidate at the Basic School “Gasanda” polling center at 6:48 a.m.

The same observation was made at the Basic School “Dutwe” voting center, long queues were observed outside the offices at 7 a.m. but until 11 a.m., the queues were already short.

As the hours went by, the shifts in the ranks diminished and the agents of the Communal Independent Electoral Commission began to get bored.

“We are almost half of the registered voters, the only problem is to wait for the scheduled time to start the count,” said a Rangi polling station member. The counting was about to end around 7p.m. The count was done in a relaxed atmosphere, all the agents tried to hide their feelings and it was difficult to distinguish who was in power or in opposition.

Finally, it was quite!

On the polling day, the daily activities at the headquarters in Ruyigi commune seem to have stopped. Markets, stalls and kiosks are closed. According to some interviewees, the police and the administration didn’t tolerate other activities to divert voters from their civic duties. The police passed through the neighborhoods to enforce the measure they took. For local residents of the province and its surroundings, this Election Day marks the end of the hassles experienced since the opening of the electoral campaign.

“Every day we had to put up with all the noise from the loudspeakers that broke our eardrums, listen to their programs and their goals, whether we like it or not. I think that’s the end of it all,” said a local resident met in Gasanda locality in Ruyigi province. According to him, the future will be better regardless of the winner. “We have no problem with candidates except those who hope to get political posts if their candidates are elected.

Otherwise, it is just propaganda,” says Diomède. Their arguments are based on the living conditions during the electoral campaign. “Our customers kept moving while others saved to follow their political parties’ leaders,” complained a woman who runs a restaurant at the headquarters of Ruyigi province. Right now, everyone is waiting for the elections results that will be revealed by the electoral commission, according to many intellectuals from Ruyigi commune headquarters. “What worries us is not the winner but the time it takes to count the votes. We want it to end quickly to return to normal,”says one teacher.

Ruyigi province has 99 polling stations and 34,504 voters. Everyone wonders: “Who won? »

Cibitoke:A triple ballot marred by irregularities

Voters went to the polling stations in the early morning. Fraud has been reported in some localities. Opposition parties complained. However, the local electoral commission reassures.

Voters ready to cast their votes at “Murwi” basic school

The presidential, legislative and municipal elections conducted on Wednesday May 20 were characterized by enthusiasm from local residents of Cibitoke province. As we noticed at the headquarters of the province, at least all polling stations opened at 6 a.m. “I woke up very early in the morning to fulfill my civic duty,” said an old man in his sixties after having cast his vote.

In Bukinanyana commune at more than a hundred km from Cibitoke headquarters, voters were still too numerous on the queue. One of the polling station members said that it takes time to verify voters on the list, which causes some delay. According to an administrative source in Murwi commune, some voters who cannot read or write have found it difficult to fulfill their civic duty.

Some irregularities were reported

In almost all six communes of Cibitoke province, propaganda campaigns conducted by CNDD-FDD members were reported while voters were waiting to vote. In Rugombo and Murwi communes, six ruling CND-FDD members were caught when they distributed ballots to increase the number of voters.

According to a CNL party official, the police tried to catch the cheaters. They were imprisoned only to be released a few minutes later. Intimidation was observed especially in Buganda and Mugina communes. CNL party observers were ordered to forcibly leave the polling stations before the close of the poll. Four of them are still detained in the dungeon of Murwi commune at the time of writing.

The situation is similar in Rugombo commune. A CNL youth representative was arrested and immediately conducted to the police station in Cibitoke province. The CNL party leader accused the administration, the police and members of the local electoral commission that encourage fraud instead of being impartial.

On behalf of the provincial independent electoral commission-CEPI in Cibitoke province, the polls were smoothly conducted. He also said minor irregularities reported cannot taint the elections regularity.

Gihosha/ Kamenge:Vote without incident

Voters are mobilized to cast their votes in Gihosha and Kamenge neighborhoods. The polls were quietly conducted in general.

In the early morning of May 20, streets were crowded with people in Gihosha urban area. It is 6 am; we are at the polling center of “Gasenyi II” Basic School in Taba district of Gihoshaneighborhood in Ntahangwa commune, in the north of Bujumbura city. There are long queues outside the polling stations. Voters are excited to vote. More than 4,000 voters are registered on the electoral lists.

The voting begins with a short delay. The preparation of voting materials and installation of the voting booths took enough time. Voting begins at around 6.30 am.

Hand washing devices to protect against the Covid-19 spread are located at the entrance of each polling station. CENI agents are wearing masks, but the observers don’t wear them. The polling center has 11 polling stations. Only CNL, CNDD-FDD and UPRONA parties have their observers on the ground. No other observer was present.

At “Gasenyi I” Basic School, the voting began at 7 a.m. The center has six polling stations and there are also queues. Voters arrived in the early morning. Some voters revealed that they voted too early to return to their daily activities. We notice the presence of one observer at the polling station n°1. He belongs to the Association for Progressive African Youth (AJAP). Hygienic measures weren’t respected. No water at the entrance to the polling stations to curb the spread of Covid-19.

At the polling center of Gihosha High School, there are 11 polling stations with over 4000 expected voters. A third of voters had already voted around 10:00 a.m. CNL, CNDD-FDD and UPRONA parties have its observers in all the polling stations.

A single bucket filled with water is installed in the schoolyard and each voter washed their hands before standing in line.

Observers, such as “Fontaine Isoko” and African Ministry of Compassion (MAC), are present in one polling station. Voting takes place quietly.

At “Lycée Municipal Gihosha” and Gihosha Basic School, the same enthusiasm among voters was observed. There are 21 polling stations. Observers are also present in one polling station at Gihosha Basic School namely the Association for Peacebuilding (Acopa), Conference of Burundi Catholic Bishops and “Fontaine Isoko”.

Preventive measures against Covid-19 are neglected. Voters clump together. No water at the entrance to the polling stations.

We have noticed students who have come to vote at these centers while they have registered in the provinces. They were denied access to the polling stations.

Towards Kamenge

The voting started at 6 a.m. in Kamenge neighborhood. At Kamenge Basic School, there are 9 polling stations. Each station has more than 390 voters. The “Lycée Municipal Kamenge” polling center has 14 polling stations. Around 11:00 a.m. there was no longer a queue.

The head of these centers reports that the voters came very early in the morning and responded massively to the appointment. No incident has been reported, according to observers from “Fontaine Isoko” and Conference of Burundi Catholic Bishops met on the spot.

What about security?

In all polling centers visited, security was enhanced by the Army and police officers. They are inside and outside the voting centers. They stayed away from voters, but monitor the voting process closely. They instructed people to not gather around the polling stations. People stay away but form small groups. They are talking to each other. They impatiently await the verdict of the ballot boxes. Note that all the polling stations have closed at 4 p.m. and the count immediately followed.

Gahahe: CNL party denounces electoral fraud

People are voting more than once, polling station officialsare accompanying voters into the polling booth, etc. A CNL party observer denounces the scheming that she witnessed in a voting center in Gahahe locality in Mutimbuzi commune.

Elections are marred by “fraud and scheming” in Gahahe locality

Jeanne (pseudonym) is a CNL party observer who follows closely the electoral process at “Horizon” school, a voting center located in Gahahe area in Mutimbuzi commune of Bujumbura province. Overwhelmed by what she sees in her polling station, she does not hesitate to denounce, in tears, shenanigans made by Chairman of the office.
“When the agents arrive at this center which has 10 polling stations, the members of the polling stations prevent us from entering. The elections begin in our absence. It’s after an hour that they allow us to enter,” says Jeanne.

According to her, the chairperson for the polling station starts to guide people and gives them voter cards. Members of the polling station don’t even check whether they are registered. They are immediately taken to the voting booth. “When I point this out to this official, he tells me that all you need is a voter card to vote wherever you want. Which is completely false”, regrets this party observer.
Elder people are entering in the polling station. The chairperson for the station himself leads them into the voting booth and shows them what to do. “When I ask him why he is doing what is against the law, he told me that the law allows him to do that”.

“It is appalling. We have no right to report. We watch these shenanigans, helpless to do anything. I’m overwhelmed,” she complains in tears. “There was no need to inspect how these elections were conducted. It would have been better for us to stay at home,” she adds.
These shenanigans are confirmed by an observer of a religious denomination who was on the spot.
These witnesses say that these shenanigans are reported in other polling centers, in particular in those of Gahahe and Gasenyi localities, according to CNL party observers who are on the spot.

Peaceful elections but too many misunderstandings

With some non-registered voters, others who do not have a voter card … There were many irregularities in some polling centers in the north of the capital.

Voters are trying to remove ink from the finger after the vote.

It is 9 am at the ‘’Source du savoir’’ school, in Carama district, a polling center that expects to receive around 5,000 voters. Almost 1,500 people have already voted by that time.

There is a great movement outside as well as inside. A strong military presence is observed. A hand washing device is installed in the schoolyard. This one is crowded with voters who form long queues in front of 12 polling stations in this center. Members of the polling stations wear masks which no longer play their protective role; most of them have lowered them to the chin.

A young woman away from the queues is complaining. She has been there since 7 a.m., but has been refused to vote. She has the 2018 referendum card. “Yet yesterday, I heard the president of CENI authorizes it,” still complaining the young woman.

These cases are numerous in this polling center. Sometimes those who are not registered in this center, sometimes those who have the old voter card or the identity card only. The members of the polling stations are distraught before these cases. They do not yet know what to do. They put these cases aside while awaiting a decision.
Finally, everyone on the registration lists can vote whether or not they have the card.

Parties’ observers are seen at the polling stations. They represent CNDD-FDD, CNL, UPRONA parties, the independent candidate … An observer of a religious denomination is present. She deplores a very weak presence of observers at the voting centers. She claims that they had no means. “Everyone covers the voting centers located in their neighborhood. But, we were supposed to cover the whole country. ”

Kinama, forbidden to remove the ink from the finger!

Kinama Center for Trade Education (CEM), 9 polling stations awaits more than 3,500 voters. At 11 a.m., 978 people voted. The movement is weak in this voting center. Voters must put their phones away while entering the polling station.

Three young people are sitting on the floor in front of a polling station. They say that there are parties’ observers who have been denied the entry. “Those who are inside are sufficient,” retorts the president of this polling station.
This center receives the same cases of irregularities: some voters came with the identity card only or the 2018 voter card. Others are not registered in this center. Most of them are pupils and students from the provinces. But everyone has the right to vote in this center, even those who are not on the registration lists. According to a member of a polling station, there is another which is reserved for them.
Most voters who have just voted tend to remove ink from the tap, as in all other centers. But the police near the tap prevent them from doing so.
In Ave Maria voting center of Kinamaarea, soldiers are at the entrance of this center, which has 8 polling stations and is expected to hold around 5,000 voters. They check that everyone who enters has the voter card and no ink on their fingers. At noon, almost half of the expected voters have already voted.
There is a disagreement however, members of a polling station and the parties’ observers do not agree on the proxies presented by certain voters. “Nothing proves the ties of kinship,” shows a party’s observer.
A civil society observer “Fontaine Isoko” is on the spot. He declined to comment: “We were forbidden to speak. We’re just going to write the reports. ”
Most voters at this polling center have no idea how to fold the ballot or which ballot box to put it in. Three ballots and three ballot boxes are reserved for the presidential, the deputies and the municipal councilors. The polling station members fold the ballots before giving them to voters.

Muha:Political observers prohibited from voting at their polling stations

With an hour and a half delay, the Kanyosha High Schoolvoting center ofKinanira II neighborhood in Musagaarea, opened its 13 polling stations. At the entrance, no hand-washing facilities were available while voters were lined up in long queues at 8:30 a.m. 450 voters were expected in that voting center with the preservation of an additional 50 people. The votewent smoothly. The chairman of the voting center had to verify that each voter had his voter card and identity card.

These elections have few peculiarities. Without a voting card, voters may use their identity cards once they got registered at the samepolling station. According to the president of a polling station, due to lack of space, they had to erect tents that served as polling stations.

At Kinanira II Basic School, the buckets were empty of water. Voters couldn’t wash their hands. In front of the 15 polling stations in this voting center, there were no longer many people queuing at 10 a.m. Voters found there said they woke up very early to fulfill their civic duty.

Parties’ observers assigned to both polling stations were not allowed to vote. “These people have registered in polling centers of Muha commune, they have to return to the voting center they got registered to allow us to preserve the 50 additional places reserved for the soldiers, police officers, journalists ., “said a CECI agent in Muha commune.

In the afternoon, at ECOFO Kinanira III polling center in Musaga area, polling stations were occupied only by CENI agents, parties’ observers and observers. They were waiting for the countdown of the counting of votes.

After 12 noon, at Kinindo Basic School polling center of Kinindo area, no voters were coming. “Everything is fine, despite an hour’s delay,” said a president of the polling station. Interviewed, party observers gave the same response.

A few meters from the center, a CNL member announced a CNL observer that had fallen ill, but the president of the polling station refused to replace him. “We are going to take one CNL observer in the polling station that has two. We have submitted the issue to CENI in vain,” he said.

Mukaza :Some voters couldn’t vote

In some polling centers of Mukaza commune, irregularities are reported. Some voters did not vote while the measures against Covid-19 are not applied.

Voters form two long queues on the road separating the University of Burundi and Nyakabiga zone.

At the EPJP Nyakabiga School polling center, in Mukaza commune of Bujumbura city, voters line up in front of polling stations. Due to lack of space inside the school, several hundred voters form two long queues on the road separating the University of Burundi and Nyakabiga area.

Several police officers and soldiers ensure security at the entrance. Others pass between the two long queues to identify the elderly, disabled and pregnant women so that they do not queue up.

Some irregularities are reported. Kaze, one of the police officers assigned in that polling center was not allowed to vote. The latter complain: “I am assigned here. I cannot leave my post to go and vote at the Stella Matutina voting center where I got registered. ”

In addition, this policeman does not have the new voting card recently issued by CENI. He claims that the so called card was issued while he was in the country side for a work mission. For the moment, he does not know what to do: “CENI authorized the defense and security forces to vote where they will be. But these CNL agents refuse to allow me to go to the polls. ”

Inside this voting center, those who cannot read have a problem to find the number of their polling station. This voting center has 9 polling stations. Measures to combat the spread of Covid-19 are not implemented. Hand cleaning points are installed at the entrance of this center, but there is no water and social distancing isn’t respected.

It is 8.45 am. We are at the voting center of Nyakabiga communal Lycee. Voters are cautious at the entrance. They are directed to cleaning points. And bad surprise, the bucket is empty, there is no water. Disappointed, they line up in front of the polling stations. CENI representative said that the water problem did not concern him adding that 357 voters were expected in that polling center. At that time, more than a dozen heavily armed soldiers from “Avenue de l’Imprimerie” were taking “Avenue Muyinga”. Visibly worried voters say nothing.

The same observation was made at the polling center of the Bassin basic school and the Buyenzi basic school: the measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic were not implemented

One of the voters went up to the polling center at the Bassin Basic School. CENI agents refused him the permission to vote since his name is not on the electoral list.
The latter did not give up; he presented a receipt and his voting card. CENI agents told him to wait for the authorization from CENI or CEPI

Other voters deplore the loss of time. Jeanne, a trader, says that she came very early, hoping to go do her business after voting. She just spent an hour on the queue. She regrets that the voter spends a lot of time in the voting booth: “Normally, these elections should be conducted in two or three days.”

Independent observers from the Center for Veterans Affairs and Development (CEDAC) denounce some irregularities. They cite in particular, pupils who got registered in their native provinces but were refused to vote because they are not on the voters’ lists. Domestic workers face the same problem. For these observers, they should vote where they reside.