May 27, 2020

Like DR Congo, Catholic Church Questions Burundi Election Results

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Monseigneur Joachim Ntahondereye

Bujumbura – The Episcopal Conference of Burundi has said the elections results announced on Monday are cooked up, as the polls were mired with fraud.

Monseigneur Joachim Ntahondereye said on Tuesday in Bujumbura that the Catholic Church had 2,700 observers, which was a small number, but sufficient enough to reach all corners of Burundi. The episcopal conference issued its observation report on Tuesday.

He said: “Agents of some parties were forced to sign polling station forms. Stealing votes and ballot stuffing was widespread. People cast votes for the dead or those who fled the country. Many people did not show up at polling stations but instead sent others to vote for them. We noted multiple voting in many areas.”

The election commission announced that the ruling party CNDD-FDD candidate Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye won 68.72%, against key challenger Agathon Rwasa’s CNL getting 24.19%. Other remaining candidates shared the other tally.

Rwasa has dismissed the results, and announced intention to go to court. A former rebel himself, Burundian are hoping the fight over the results doesn’t lead to renewed war.

When the DR Congo highly contested polls were completed in December 2018, the Catholic Church said its vote tally showed the opposition alliance had won. It took the maneuvering of sitting President Joseph Kabila to work out a deal with another opposition bloc of current President Felix Tshisekedi, allowing Kabila to maintain influence over the politics of Congo.

The dynamics in Burundi may be different. However, with public backing of his positions by the Catholic Church, it could embolden Agathon Rwasa, leading to a chaotic coming weeks.

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