BUJUMBURA August 25th (ABP) – Village elections are taking place normally in Gitega province (center) where, since 6 a.m., the Head of State of Burundi, Major General Evariste Ndayishimiye and his wife, Mrs. Angéline Ndayishimiye elected the village councilors at the Bubu Basic School polling center, in Musama village of Giheta commune. On that occasion, the President of the Republic of Burundi invited the Burundians registered as voters to maximum participation in those elections which are also important, given that the village constitute the nucleus of development.
In the Kinama zone of the Bujumbura City Council, the village elections were characterized by less enthusiasm compared to the triple ballot (presidential, legislative and communal) of May 20, 2020, a check on the site by the ABP has revealed. Testimonies collected from local administrative officials, in particular the leader of the Carama district and the leader of the Muyinga district, confirm the low turnout of voters. A finding also revealed in other parts of the country. In the Kanyosha zone, the election of village or neighborhood councilors began at 6:00 a.m. in certain polling centers. However, the turnout of voters was low in the morning. Out of 15,000 voters expected at the polling center located at the CSK (Kanyosha School Complex) where some of the residents of the Musama district vote, around 510 people had already voted in the 17 polling stations at 9 a.m., according to the polling center manager .Out of 3,974 registered at the CFP (Kanyosha Vocational Training Center) where some of the residents of the Nkenga-Busoro and Kajiji districts vote, 382 people had already voted at 10 a.m., according to the presidents of the 10 polling stations. Despite the handwashing devices located at the entrance to polling centers to prevent against Covid-19, many people did not wash their hands when they arrived. They would rush to wash their hands right after the vote to remove the indelible ink. Very few women appeared on the lists of candidate district councilors in this area. There is no female candidate for the Nkenga-Busoro district. Only one woman appears on the list of councilors for the Kajiji district, as for the Musama district.
In Muramvya (center-west), the election of the members of the village council is done in 99 villages distributed in 150 centers and 524 polling stations where 864 candidates are in the running, according to the Provincial Election Commission (CEPI). Among the candidate village councilors, 724 are men and 140 are women. At Muramvya Basic School III polling centers, as well as at Muramvya High School polling centers, voting normally started at 6:35 minutes, with little attendance. At Muramvya Basic School, until 7.20 a.m., 43 registered voters had already fulfilled their civic duty in the 11 polling stations, while 16 voters were already registered in 4 polling stations of the polling center located at the Muramvya High School. At around 10 a.m., the Muramvya Basic School III polling center, made up of 11 polling stations, had already registered 395 voters out of more than 3,000 expected. At the Muramvya Basic School II polling center, 272 out of 1,821 expected voters had already voted at 10:30 am. For the observation of those elections, the representatives of the Catholic Episcopal Commission of Burundi and those of the CODIP association are monitoring the progress. Some of the candidates contacted after their choice about the low turnout of voters, they indicated that they are confident that the voters will respond present and numerous in the afternoon because in the morning they go to the fields to prepare for the growing season A.
In Cankuzo province (east), elections for members of village councils concern 821 candidates, including 662 men and 159 women. The observation on the polling centers visited is that voters came sparingly to the different polling stations. Until 10:30 a.m., said Valérie Serushahu, leader of the Independent Provincial Election Commission (CEPI) Cankuzo, no incident had been reported.
In Kirundo (north), the elections for village leaders took place in serenity at the polling centers of the headquarters of the province where the turnout was low until 8:40 am.
In Ngozi (north), the village elections took place quietly in the polling centers, where they could notice the presence of the police, which apparently were not very busy, given that the security was total. At the Ngozi Basic School II polling center, for example, where the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Domitien Ndihokubwayo, was to vote, until 10 a.m., voters came in droplets. The leaders of the polling stations, however, remained optimistic about the influx of voters in the afternoon. It was also pointed out that some voters not registered on the list were refused to vote, being formally banned by the Independent National Election Commission (CENI). Regarding the independent observers, only the CODIP remained present at certain polling stations. Remember that 1,490 village councilors must be elected from 298 villages and neighborhoods in Ngozi province.
At the voting center of the Kayanza secondary technical school (ETESEK), out of 4,229 voters expected, only 1,363 voters had already completed their civic duty by 10 a.m. The CEPI Kayanza chairman Jean d´Amour Butoyi said no irregularities were reported despite voters trickling in. In the two polling centers of ETESEK and the Access School, the elections were conducted in peace. The police force was on the scene and preventive measures against the coronavirus pandemic have not been relegated to the background. According to some voters, the low morning attendance is explained by the fact that there are voters who currently reside in places where they have not been enlisted, while for the villages, voters are forced to vote in the polling stations where they registered. As a reminder, the expected voters in Kayanza province number 340,991 while the candidate village councilors amount to 2379, of whom 1940 are men and 439 women. As for the polling centers, they number 277, while the polling stations number 985.
In Bururi (southwest), irregularities were reported in Bururi commune at the Kabuye polling center where the competing candidates accused the leader of polling station number one of being in complicity with a competitor accused of a jar. The CEPI Bururi Chairman immediately went there and decided to put aside the ballot box which created confusion. At the end of the ballot, the authorized officials will check whether the votes already cast correspond exactly to the number of voters on the tally list. In Vyanda commune in Kigutu village, a member of the polling station beat up a person who came to vote. He was suspended and replaced. In Rutovu commune, in Ruhando village, the name of a village council candidate did not appear on the list, even though he had been campaigning. The CEPI took the measure of letting him compete.
In Makamba (south), 1,284 candidates including 988 men and 296 women are candidates in those elections on Monday, August 24, 2020. At the polling centers visited, a check on the site by the ABP has revealed. There was no waiting line as was the case during the May 2020 elections. Regarding the observers of those elections, a check by the ABP was able to see the members of the Isoko Fountain.
In Bubanza province (north-west Burundi), the village elections are taking place without constraint and have started on time. According to the Independent Communal Election Commission (CECI) of Bubanza, 128 candidates are competing in 25 villages. Some voters met on the Buhororo 1 villages and Bubanza town center, they said that they need wise village leaders, good impartial mediators, true patriots, able to mobilize their leaders for community development works and who accept advice. They also say they want activists for peace and security. Note that more than 53,000 voters are expected in Bubanza commune, in 33 polling centers and 155 polling stations, with 775 polling station members.
In Ruyigi (east), the election of village councilors began at 6 am, as stipulated in the electoral code. At the various polling stations, most voters had not yet fulfilled this civic duty. Contacted by the way, some supervisors and observers told a check by the ABP that the people are used to doing their various activities in the front and going to vote in the afternoon. Certain irregularities appeared at certain polling stations. Those are essentially voters who went to vote without obtaining valid voter cards. Those who did not have a card but whose names were on the lists were allowed to vote. For those who could not read and write, they were allowed to freely choose scribes.