Security Ministry warns any Burundian not to destabilize security

In a statement issued on May 18, the Minister of Public Security warns Burundians, especially CNL and Uprona party members that whoever will try to destabilize security during the elections set on May 20 won’t be tolerated.

Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni: “Any gathering around the polling station is strictly forbidden.”

Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Minister of Public Security has warned whoever will try to destabilize the security during the elections. He said the police and its security partners have been instructed not to tolerate any disruption. “We want to make a warning to Burundians and especially members of CNL and Uprona parties, whose leaders called on them to come in large numbers to participate and monitor the electoral activities that it is strictly forbidden,” said the Minister adding that the electoral code is clear and must be respected.

As a reminder, Minister Bunyoni mentioned the Article 54 of the electoral code. “The Article stipulates that it is strictly forbidden to voters to appear outside or near the polling station with arms or in organized troops,” he said. He called on voters to return to their homes immediately after the vote. “Any gathering around the polling station is strictly forbidden,” he said.

Pierre Claver Kazihise, Chairman of the electoral commission has also indicated that gatherings around the polling stations are prohibited. He said anyone who violates the regulations will be sentenced to an imprisonment of between three months and two years with a fine estimated from BIF 400,000 to 800,000.

Térence Manirambona, spokesperson for CNL party, said there is a contradiction between what the Minister said and the Article 54 of the electoral code. “The Article 54 specifies that voters are not allowed to enter the polling stations with weapons or in organized groups. However, they are allowed to follow the electoral process closely,” said Manirambona. He called on the police to ensure the safety of voters as well as that of the candidates for the general elections. “Our party members must be vigilant and avoid being influenced by politicians,” he said.

As for Abel Gashatsi, Uprona party Chairman, his party never called on its members to gather near the polling station on the Election Day. “We only exhorted them to participate massively to the general elections while abiding by the electoral code and return immediately to their homes,” he said adding that Uprona party has enough representatives to different voting centers.

Over 5,126, 351 Burundians excluding 12,933 Burundians in the diaspora will go to the polls set on May 20. They will cast their votes in 14,718 voting centers dispatched throughout the country.