Monday, June 29, 2015

Burundi: Polls unsurprisingly perspective

Despite the warnings and appeals of the international community, which fears that the situation escalates, Burundi organizes this Monday, June 29 legislative and municipal elections without the opposition decided to boycott. It is therefore no surprise polls looming. Turnout will be the focus of attention. Polling stations officially opened at 4 pm GMT, after another night of violence in Bujumbura.

Some 3.8 million voters are called to the polls on Monday for controversial legislative and municipal elections, which take place in a very tense atmosphere punctuated with violence.

Tens of thousands of soldiers and policemen were deployed to secure the 11,500 polling stations spread over some 3,500 centers throughout the country. An operation at risk, especially in areas where the challenge of the third term of President Pierre Nkurunziza was the strongest. Opposition and civil society have also called for a boycott of the elections.

For legislative, Burundian citizens will elect 100 deputies on a closed list basis in a majority vote in one round. The Assembly must have the final 60% Hutu, 40% Tutsi and at least 30% women. And for communal, voters must designate 15 councilors in each of the 117 municipalities of the country, in the same ethnic and gender proportions. Balances enshrined in the Arusha Peace Accords .

Without any real election issue after the withdrawal of the opposition, everyone will scrutinize carefully the rate of abstention. But a problem is size: the credibility of the figures will be announced. All international observer missions, except that of the UN, have withdrawn from this process after the government's refusal to further postpone these elections, as demanded by the international community.

Opening powered polls

A Nyakabiga, gunfire and grenade explosions punctuated the night before the election. In this hot area in central Bujumbura, all offices were relocated and regrouped at the University of Burundi. It is a bit out in the Mutanga campus, just outside Nyakabiga .

Around 4:30 GMT on Monday morning, election officials have arrived in a somewhat disorderly atmosphere. A Nyakabiga there are between 14 000 and 15 000 members, but very few, about 5000 only came to take their voting cards. Voters are not jostled at the polling station when it opened, perhaps deterred by the violence of the night in the area as in others of the capital. Attempts have particular attack occurred on polling Cibitoké and Jabez. According to police sources contacted by RFI, 15 grenades were thrown and exploded in Bujumbura, six police officers were slightly injured, two vehicles damaged.

An official of INEC told RFI that normally, the offices were open from 6am to 16h, but they have given the latitude to polling hot neighborhoods to open later, even catch later in the day.

IDP polling stations

In one of the key areas of dispute, Musaga , the authorities decided to relocate the polling stations on the outskirts of the town to avoid overflow. On Sunday, tents were erected throughout the day to accommodate voters.

A football field has been transformed into such voting center. "  This is the land we chose because it is secure  , "said Napoleon Nimbesha, the president of the polling center in town Musaga. The land is "  in front of the police officers , it is in front of the military camp. This is a great place because you can not disturb the order. You saw that around the field we see a lot of soldiers.  "

We must be able to accommodate 46 polling stations. A nearby school was even requisitioned to reach the 93 regulatory offices. But the residents of this neighborhood do not want to hear about these elections. Those who agree to respond are adamant. They will not vote.

"  I will not vote because there are many irregularities in these elections, says one of them RFI. These are only formalities otherwise there is no real elections in good standing. There should be different parties, the ruling parties and other opposition. But in Burundi this is not the case. There is only one party, the party in power , so if it is not the ruling party can not participate. "

The president of the local electoral commission says still hope that voters will arise. Everything is ready to welcome those who want it, ensures Napoleon Nimbesha.

Nights of violence

In the northern districts, several polling centers were attacked on the night of Sunday to Monday, but authorities claimed to have quickly mastered the situation. A Jabez, gunfire and grenade explosions were heard late into the night, without people holed up at home do not understand what is happening on their streets. The same scenario as yesterday. In the night from Saturday to Sunday the clashes had killed two people.

Patrick, a young student, was shot. Friends say he discovered his lifeless body, one part creme and should have tried to finish him with knives. Despite this treatment, the young man would have agonized for minutes without hope of relief, telling his family and friends in tears angry.

"  We tried to find an ambulance, telling a close. I called all the people who have all told me that it was impossible to come because there was a lot of shooting. One was killed, we were shocked!  "

The authorities accuse the residents of these neighborhoods protesting possess weapons, which upset a young man of Jabez. "  Authorities say anything! They are crazy people! It was nothing! That's why we die like dogs here.  "

A few blocks away, another family in mourning. The body of Abdul Prime is still in the house. Shredded hands, arms burned by the explosion of a grenade. One of his neighbors said they did not know what happened. "  We're not out of the night. We hid under the bed In the morning when I was washing me, I was told that someone had died.  "

This is not a victim, comment - face closed - women sitting not far from his home. Others say it is a member of the ruling party who had himself tried to throw a grenade.


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