Lining up in Giheta, Burundi, on Wednesday. More than five million Burundians are expected to vote at about 1,500 polling stations.Credit... Lining up in Giheta, Burundi, on Wednesday. More than five million Burundians are expected to vote at about 1,500 polling stations.Credit... Berthier Mugiraneza/Associated Press

Burundi Counts Votes In Darkness, Cuts Off Internet, Electricity

May 21, 2020

The world is anxiously waiting for the total tally of votes for all the seven Presidential candidates – only one of them will emerge as winner should he achieve the over 50% score.

However, the government has switched off electricity, internet and telecomes. Vote counting is taking place in utter darkness clearly making it possible for vote stuffing.

Results are underway as preliminary tally from various polling stations indicates Agathon Rwasa of CNL party is leading and CNDD-FDD in second position.

Reports have emerged that in some areas, polling stations opened as early as 4AM and Imbonerakure militia were allowed into the voting rooms. But the legal opening time is 6AM and voting ends at 4PM.

Social networking sites in the country have been inaccessible and making phone calls was very difficult.

“This is a clear sign that fraud has been planned. And the change is for tonight. We will all be witnesses to this despite this internet outage or all the other hassles,” said Agathon Rwasa the CNL candidate.

“Why cut communications when it is a right for every citizen? If medical or other intervention was required, how would we proceed with cut communications? If we call people to vote freely, we still have to respect their rights. It’s a shame it’s like this, but that will not prevent the turning point from coming true,” he said.

For Rwasa, his party agents are required to carefully count every ballot cast.

“It is from these reports, if the results seem false, that we will be able to appeal to the authorised bodies. We can’t talk about the verdict at the polls now. Wait for the count. If we are not satisfied, we will say so. If not, we will also say it because it is our right to appreciate or not what this process will have been,” he told press late Wednesday.

The elections are a triple ballot organised to elect the president, legislative representatives and municipal leaders.

Outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza cast his vote at Buye, in Mwumba commune of Ngozi province. He says these elections are important for three main reasons.

“First, the elections have been financed entirely by the Burundian population. Which is a very good thing and a decisive step in the consolidation of democracy.”

Secondly he compared Wednesday elections to the previous (1965, 1993, 2005, 2010, 2015), “there was always a donor hand that demanded or imposed what should be done, and thereby created ambushes in the election results.”

Nkurunziza said the third reason is that the elections have been held when the Constitution of Burundi has been reformed.

The outgoing president has ruled Burundi with an iron fist and has been isolated further. He however, considers the country’s past political turmoil as a product of ignorance about elections.

“We are saying that those who created problems in the past did not understand the importance of elections,” he said Wednesday, adding that “we must always accept the verdict at the polls and understand that elections do not keep people alive. They allow us to have responsible leaders.”

 

Credit: taarifa.rw

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