Burundi opposition says will boycott fake elections


Agathon Rwasa


Burundi opposition leader, Agathon Rwasa, says he will not take part in President Pierre Nkurunziza’s fake elections.

Rwasa is the leader of the main opposition National Liberation Forces (FNL) party.

He told Voice of America that Burundi elections held by Nkurunziza will not to be free, fair and credible.

He demanded that Nkurunziza steps down first to allow another person to lead the ruling CNDD-FDD party in the elections.

“This will restore peace and the country’s stability,” Rwasa argued.

“Nkurunziza better step aside and leave space for another one from his political party, otherwise he would be trampling [on] the constitution and try to annihilate the Arusha agreement, which we cannot agree with,” he is quoted as saying.

Other opposition parties earlier on announced they would boycott both the presidential and the legislative elections over the same reasons.

Rwasa further told VOA that the country’s current political crisis is not favourable to peaceful elections.

“All Burundians are not ready to participate in a fake election like the one which is the preoccupation of President Pierre Nkurunziza and his so called CENI [Electoral Commission],” he said.

“What we want is a process which can be free and fair. In the [current] conditions, there is no room for democratic elections. All that we can say is that there is a need to urgently deal with these challenges as stated by the heads of state of this region where we are all invited to a dialogue so as to build up [a] conducive environment which may lead to a free and fair election,” he added.

Rwasa says opposition and civil society leaders are afraid for their lives, since militia groups loyal to the government have yet to be disarmed.

This week, Nkurunziza forged a document claiming that three out of five commissioners could make decisions for the electoral commission.

Rwasa also says CENI does not meet stipulations in the constitution to organize any elections.

Two senior members of the electoral body left the country citing security concerns.

“It [should] compose of five commissioners who are from different ethnic groups and who belong to different gender,” he said.

Rwasa says there is a need to constitute a new and independent electoral commission that would administer credible elections.

However, CNDD-FDD supports rejected calls for Nkurunziza to step down.

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