Bujumbura: Voters complain about lack of diversity of political supervisors in referendum

Around 6:00a.m., all polling stations were open in the capital Bujumbura. At Mutanga-Sud Fundamental School, many voters have lined up before eight polling stations. Security forces were around. However, voters complained about the slow going of the process. “I have spent two hours queuing. I don’t know why the process is sluggish”, said a voter met in Mutanga Sud, around 9:30 a.m.

Long queues of voters at “Kibanguiste” polling station in Mutakura neighborhood, Bujumbura

Long queues of voters at “Kibanguiste” polling station in Mutakura neighborhood, Bujumbura

At “Lycée Municipal Gikungu” in Ntahangwa commune, about 1500 out of 3924 expected voters have already cast a vote around 9:30 a.m. Out of 18 political supervisors, 14 were from the ruling party CNDD-FDD and 4 from “Amizero y’Abarundi” opposition coalition. According to one of the electoral agents, additional voters such as police agents, soldiers and interns were allowed to vote. She also says young people under 18 years were not allowed to vote. “We must verify their IDs and voting cards,” she says.

At “Kibanguiste” Fundamental school polling station, in Mutakura neighborhood , there were 14 election supervisors from the ruling party-CNDD-FDD, one from “Amizero y’Abarundi” coalition , four from the civil society “Fontaine Isoko” and one from the CODIP civil society organization. Around 10:30 a.m., 2034 have already voted out of 5312 expected electors. Soldiers were also present to ensure security.
At “Lycée technique Don De Dieu” polling station in Cibitoke neighborhood in the capital Bujumbura, voters complained about the lack of diversity among the observers and political supervisors in the referendum. “We fear the lack of impartiality in this referendum. All the observers and political observers are from the same political party”, says a voter met in Mutakura. Of 19 political supervisors who were present, 14 agents were from the ruling party and 5 from UPRONA party. There was also one person from the civil society organization. Out of 3363 expected voters, 2249 had already voted at 10:25 a.m.

In Gihosha neighborhood in the north of the Burundian capital, the voting center was subdivided into 22 polling stations. Of the 10, 481 expected voters, 6,287 had already voted. Few voters were still lining up. Voters who registered outside Gihosha voting centers were not allowed to vote. “The National Independent Electoral Commission-CENI allows that only soldiers, police agents, journalists vote at any polling station,” says an electoral agent.

Pierre Claver Ndayicariye, CENI Chairman, said polling stations were expected to close at 4: 00 p.m. “The electoral agents will proceed with the counting of votes.