from OMEGA SSUUNA in Bujumbura, Burundi
BUJUMBURA, (CAJ News) – BURUNDI is under pressure to postpone Wednesday’s general elections because of alleged crimes against humanity, the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and absence of international monitors.
These problems have overshadowed preparations for the watershed presidential election that sees President Pierre Nkurunziza (55) vacating office after 15 years in power.
Legislative and local elections are also scheduled amid fears the poll would not be credible.
Tempers have been flared between Burundi and the international community in recent days.
Last Thursday, it expelled the World Health Organization (WHO) team after it brought the government to task over defiance of recommendations to prevent COVID-19.
Burundi has confirmed a single death from 15 COVID-19 cases.
Massive election campaign events have been held despite the virus.
The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Burundi has bemoaned serious violation perpetrated against opponents of Nkurunziza and his National Council for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party.
On May 8, Burundi informed the East African Community that election monitors would be required to quarantine for 14 days, effectively preventing them from entering Burundi prior to the vote.
AIDS-Free World thus appealed for a postponement.
“Admittedly, it’s the eleventh hour, but the contagion of violence, and the viral contagion of COVID-19, make rescheduling imperative,” co-directors, Paula Donovan and Stephen Lewis, stated.
Evariste Ndayishimiye (52), the preferred candidate of Nkurunziza, and Agathon Rwansa (56), deputy parliament speaker, of the National Freedom Council, are front-runners to succeed Nkurunziza.
He has been in power since 2005.
Nkurunziza triggered a deadly crisis when he forced a third term and won an election boycotted by opponents in 2015.
– CAJ News