Government says Catholic Bishops’ message is part of daily routine

Jean Claude Karerwa, Spokesperson for Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, has said the statement issued by the Catholic Bishops is part of their daily routine. “I think they will express themselves once again before the 2020 elections,” he said. It was at a public conference organized by the Spokespersons for the government and other public Institutions that took place in Rumonge province, this September 25th.

Jean Claude Ndenzako and Prosper Ntahorwamiye, both said it is normal that Catholic Bishops released such message as Burundi is a democratic country

He also said the Burundi government appreciates the Catholic Church’s achievements. “They contribute much to many important activities in the country such as in educational and infrastructural sectors,” he said. Mr. Ndenzako then demanded them to also participate in the 2020 elections instead of being observers only. “It will be better that they participate directly in the 2020 elections and avoid withdrawing themselves from all Electoral Commissions as it happened in the 2015 elections,” he said.

As for Prosper Ntahorwamiye, Spokesperson for the government, the Catholic Bishops’ statement showed the sustainability of democracy in Burundi. “Several people have given point of views, and it is normal as Burundi is a democratic country,” he said.

On 22 September, Catholic Bishops raised some challenges observed in the country in a message during the last Sunday Mass. They said there is political intolerance among members of political parties. They stated that opponents are still persecuted or even killed. In addition, the juridical system seems to delay punishing people who are guilty.

They also evoked the confusion between the ruling party and the administration. They said young people affiliated to the ruling party seem to have replaced the security forces without any prerogative. “It risks hindering the smooth running of the 2020 elections,” said Joachim Ntahondereye, Chairman of Burundi Catholic Bishops.