Establishment of provincial election commissioners provokes anger of political parties

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published on 19 September a provisional list of members of the Provincial Electoral Commission (CEPI) in Gitega province of central Burundi. Some leaders of political parties complain that they are not represented. They accuse the national electoral commission of being partial.

CENI commissioners

CEPI in Gitega province is made up of 13 members from civil society organizations, religious denominations and political parties. Some political parties are not represented in this commission. MP Norbert Ndihokubwayo, representative of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) party in Gitega accuses the electoral commission of being partial.

“FRODEBU conducts its activities in all the communes of Gitega province. We are surprised by the fact that our party is not represented in CEPI while all political parties are supposed to take part in the preparation of the elections, “says Honorable Ndihokubwayo. For him, this shows that CENI is biased.

Although the National Congress of Freedom (CNL) party is represented in CEPI, its members are not satisfied. “We are concerned that some political parties with a lot of members on the ground have not been represented in the commission while less popular parties are represented,” says a CNL leader in Gitega province.

Pierre Claver Kazihise, chairman of CENI explains that all political parties and civil society organizations cannot be represented. “We were unable to integrate all political parties into all province commissions. Political parties that have not been represented in Gitega province are integrated into other province commissions, “according to Kazihise.

He says about 30 political parties operate in Gitega province while CEPI is made up of 13 commissioners. “FRODEBU and some other parties are not represented in Gitega but they are in other provinces. Political parties cannot be represented in all provinces except the most popular ones. It’s the same for civil society organizations and religious denominations, “says Kazihise.