BUJUMBURA May19th (ABP) – The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), Mr. Pierre-Claver Kazihise held a press briefing on Monday May 18, 2020 in Bujumbura and gave some elements necessary for the election day of May 20, namely the presidential, the legislative and the communal elections.
Mr. Kazihise said the CENI followed the election campaign from the beginning to the end, and that it went smoothly. However, he acknowledged that at the beginning there were acts of violence, but that over time, all the actors involved in the smooth running of the elections contributed to the improvement of communication and the reduction of acts violence, while congratulating the candidates who were campaigning for having understood the message of the Burundian people who want peaceful elections. He signified that the campaign is over, that it is time for evaluation and self-evaluation to see if each partner has reached its objective and to see if the messages given to the people were clear.
The Chairman of the CENI also took the opportunity to ask the people to appreciate the programs presented to them to give voice to what seems to be realistic. He encouraged the institutions which have intervened a lot to keep the situation peaceful. That is the administration which held meetings with the various electoral partners, those responsible for security and justice and others. He also praised agents of civil society and those of religious denominations for providing advice that contributed to the appeasement.
In this short period of reflection preceding the elections of May 20, he reminded candidates and the people to go and vote on Election Day, because certain indications concerning the use of proxies were given. According to Mr. Kazihise, those who can exercise their right to vote by proxy are hospital patients and women in childbirth, cases of professional incapacity and cases of people living with a disability. In all three cases, the mandate must give his identity card accompanied by the voter card and a signed power of attorney attesting that this mandate has been given as well as proof that the person is sick or in childbirth. In terms of illness and disability, witnesses must be accepted because in Burundi, people know each other well.
Concerning the change of voting place, Mr. Kazihise clarified that there is a decree which determines the cases where this change is authorized. Those are members of the CENI, CEPI (Independent Provincial Election Commission), CECI (Independent Municipal Election Commission), their drivers and personal security agents as well as members of the polling stations, law enforcement officers and security deployed to secure polling stations and their surroundings. The agents ensuring the security of the high personalities and their drivers, the Burundians recruited abroad and who returned to the country, the national observers duly accredited by the CENI, the journalists who cover the media of the elections, the agents of the candidates, the drivers of persons accredited by the CENI or CEPI as well as the police and soldiers registered on the rolls, but who are in the training centers.
Mr. Kazihise also pointed out that the people who do not have all the required elements and who must have the exemption to be able to vote are the people whose names appear on the electoral list and who have voter cards but without identity cards. A voter, continues the president of the CENI, who has his identity card, registered on the electoral list and who does not have a voter card will be authorized to vote. The person who does not have a voter card or an identity card will not be allowed to vote, he said, before stressing that anyone who finishes voting will have to go home to continue daily activities. It is forbidden that there should be any crowds around the polling stations and polling centers which would threaten the normal course of the elections. The telephones in the polling stations must be switched off to be able to ensure serenity in the work in the polling stations. He also reported that voters are asked to leave their phones outside before entering the polling station.
Note that the CENI gave accreditation to 53 international observers from 9 international organizations who asked for permission to follow the electoral process.