No need to force Burundians to contribute to 2020 elections, say politicians

The Ministry of Home Affairs organized, on 22 August, a meeting with communal administrators and provincial governors on the forthcoming elections. All Burundians will have to contribute to 2020 elections.

Burundians are called upon to support the 2020 elections

Burundians are called upon to support the 2020 elections

Following the meeting organized by the Home Affairs’ Ministry with all governors and administrators in Ngozi northern province, Minister Pascal Barandagiye says every Burundian has a civic duty to contribute to the 2020 elections.

“Burundi is able to deal with its own issues including the organization of the elections.  Contributing to the elections is in reality a civic duty.  If it is a civic duty, it is an obligation and it concerns everybody including illiterate people”, says the Minister.

He also says what remains to be done, is determining a minimum contribution that the population must give, once in three months or in a year. “Civil servants will contribute in percentage after consultations with the unions to which they belong.  For the rural people, they will have to deposit cash on post accounts or else a committee will be set up to collect the funds from one locality to another and receipts  will be issued afterwards ”, he says.

The minister, however, says it would be better if the Head of State signed a decree that would specify how the contribution will be collected.

On 7 August, President Pierre Nkurunziza went to the central bank, to make a BIF 5 million cash deposit. He spoke of a patriotic gesture. “Depending upon the means of each one, Burundians can contribute from BIF10 up to BIF 100 million”, he said.

“Sensitization campaign, a better strategy to push people to contribute willingly”

Phenias Nigaba, Spokesperson for FRODEBU party, says it is surprising to hear that the government is forcing the population to support the elections while it is its own duty. “The state should rather seek partners who would give financial support for these elections. Burundians live in dire straits and are not able to support elections”, he says.  Nigaba says this measure is likely to have negative consequences and adds that people who will not have contributed, will no longer profit of the administrative services.  “They will be considered as troublemakers”, he says.

For him, the government should be engaged in an inclusive dialogue so that it can rebuild partnership with the international community.

As for UPD Zigamibanga party, the government should sensitize people to contribute voluntarily. Kassim Abdul, the UPD party chairman, says Burundians have already expressed themselves within the Inter-Burundian dialogue sessions and politicians expressed the same concern during the meetings of the forum of political parties. Otherwise, he says, local administration officials will refuse recalcitrant people some official documents. “The 2020 elections are a necessity and Burundians should support it to defend their sovereignty instead of waiting for the international community’s support”, he says.

For Jean De Dieu Mutabazi, RADEBU chairman, if the local and top level administration officials maintain that all Burundians must contribute to the 2020 elections according to their means, his party and its allies have no objection. “It is an effort to support political independence and national sovereignty. Elections are an issue of all Burundians”, he says.