When voting means protection

Bujumbura inhabitants like all Burundians, have participated massively in the constitutional referendum held this May 17, 2017. Voting began at 6 am in the morning. Until noon, more than half of the expected voters in Musaga, Kanyosha and Kinindo neighborhoods in the south of Bujumbura had already voted.

People are waiting to vote

People are waiting to vote

Some people say they do not know the content of the draft constitution. “I’m going to vote to save my life,” said a thirty-year-old mother living in Kinanira neighborhood, in south of the Burundian capital.

She said she participated in the elections fearing that the Imbonerakure’, youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD, could hurt her accusing her of having boycotted the referendum. “Otherwise, I would not come and vote since I do not know the content of the new constitution,” she said adding that it was the only choice she remained with. “We are forced to show that we support the ruling party”

Two young girls from Musaga neighborhood, say voting is an obligation. However, they do not know the content of the constitution, too. “How can one live in this country if they did not participate in this referendum?” they say with a shy smile on their faces.

Charles Bitoke, a member of the ruling CNDD-FDD is pleased that the population has massively voted in this referendum. “No one was intimidated to vote. They voted of their own free will, “he says. He believes that people claiming not to know the content of the constitution did not attend the campaign sessions which were organized throughout the country by various political formations.

This constitution, which is put to the referendum, results from the Arusha Peace Agreement that was signed in 2000. The latter helped put an end to a decade of civil war that had erupted in 1993 after the assassination of the first democratically elected Burundian President, Melchior Ndadaye.