Desperate to stay in power, Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza has now started forging documents, according to the latest report from the small East African nation.
A decree signed by Nkurunziza and his vice president, Prosper Bazombanza, is making rounds on social media in which the Burundi leader “forges” a decree and reverses it (with a pen) to suit his interests.
The decree found on this link: http://www.presidence.gov.bi/IMG/pdf/decret_171.pdf, states that the Burundi Electoral Commission can still function with only 3 out of its 5 mandated members which is contrary to the constitution.
The original text authored at Arusha in Tanzania allows unanimity but states that a minimum 4 out of 5 members can make decisions for the electoral commission.
Unfortunately for Nkurunziza, 2 members of the EC fled the country on May 30, 2015 following a coup and the President’s insistence on a third term in office.
Election commission’s vice president, Spes Caritas Ndironkeye, jetted out leaving behind a resignation letter and preparations for next week’s parliamentary elections in disarray.
A second member of the five-person commission, Illuminata Ndabahagamye, also fled reflecting mounting unease with the country’s power structure over Nkurunziza’s attempt to stay put despite worsening civil unrest.
Technically, the Election Commission can continue to work with four out of five members but if two have left, according to the constitution, no decision can be taken.
Desperate and out of options, Nkurunziza decided to back date a decree to May 30, making changes and claiming it was in place before the two commissioners fled.
According to the new forged document, Nkurunziza says 3 out of 5 commissioners can make decisions.
He has “revised the constitution” to that effect although he has no power to do so.
The Arusha agreement wanted a balance between Hutu and Tutsis making Nkurunziza’s position difficult.
Opposition rejects election timetable
A spokesman for Burundi’s independent opposition coalition said the proposal by the electoral commission to change the dates for national elections has no standing because Burundi has no legally constituted electoral commission.
Francois Bizimana, spokesman for Mizero Y’Barundi, or “Hope for All Burundians,” is quoted by Voice of America saying the commission lacks a quorum because two of its five members have fled the country.
The National Independent Election Commission Monday proposed June 26 as the date for legislative polls, followed by the presidential election July 15, and a senatorial vote July 24.
Bizimana, however, said the electoral commission’s proposal is not valid.
“Article 19 of our constitution says that the electoral commission is composed by five members. Now, we have only three members out of five and for taking decisions. We need four members out of five. The proposal made by our electoral commission is not valid because we don’t have the quorum for taking decisions,” he said.
In addition, Bizimana said, the law enacting the electoral commission also mandates that the commission can take decisions by consensus.
If it cannot reach a consensus, it can only make its decisions when four members out of five are present.
“The second condition is that President Nkurunziza must withdraw his decision to run for [a] third [term] to be president of Burundi,” Bizimana said.
Calls for Nkurunziza disqualification as a candidate
Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) citing the threat of civil war in Burundi has called for urgent and firm action in the European Union and the international community on Nkurunziza.
Louis H. O. Ch. Michel, the former Belgian Minister of Foreign Affairs and member of European Parliament says they can no longer continue to close their eyes to unrest, chaos and massacres.
“Since the announcement of the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza for another term, Burundi lives under the threat of a civil war clashes between opponents and security forces have. already caused dozens of deaths .. The independent radio and television were destroyed by police to silence the political opposition. Journalists went underground, others have fled the country and opposition leaders are in exile. The light has not been shed on the assassination of Zedi Feruzi, leader of the opposition killed May 23, 2015.”
Michel said the refusal of Nkurunziza to hear the aspirations of his people led to an authoritarian and autocratic regime.
“Violence and intimidation are the daily lot of a population that sees no improvement in their daily lives and suffers under the yoke of an unacceptable system.”
To legitimize the repression, Michel notes, the regime said that the protests are now treated as an insurrection against the legal order and this is starting to wake ethnic fiber.
“There are 21 years in Rwanda, we have witnessed dramatic and inhuman consequences of the distribution of weapons among the population. We cannot reproduce the same mistake twice: It is urgent to put an end to the arming of the militia “Imbonerakure” to ease the climate of fear that reigns over the country.”
He called on the European Union to act without delay to take strong measures to contain the spread of violence.
“We must firmly mean to President Nkurunziza that the government would be the result of elections held illegally and contrary to the Arusha Accords, will not be recognized by our institutions.”
He added: “We must demand the immediate cessation of indiscriminate repression against opponents of the opening without delay of the media space, the return home of opposition leaders in exile, the unconditional release of all political prisoners and the immediate cessation harassment against civil society. It should threaten to close bank accounts abroad influential figures of repression against protesters and threaten explicitly international prosecution.”
Today, President Nkurunziza was disqualified and lost all credit, Michel observed, adding, “We must let him know unequivocally and prevent this human drama that could contaminate the entire region of great Lakes”.
Protests resumed in Musaga between 1st and 2nd Avenue, according to Iwacu.
Songs against the third term of Nkurunziza were sung, tires were burned and barricades made of stones and tree trunks were erected.
Protesters crossed the rhythm of tambourines.
Women, one old mother of 70, the girls held signs calling for the withdrawal of the candidature of Nkurunziza and the reopening of the media.
They asked the police to be more professional instead of working for the ruling party.