BUJUMBURA March 22nd (ABP) – The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) organized on Tuesday March 20, 2018 in Bujumbura, an exchange and information meeting with the electoral partners on the progress of Preparations for the 2018 Constitutional Referendum and the 2020 General Elections, a check by ABP revealed.
In his speech, the CENI chairman, Mr. Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye, said that this year’s elections are exceptional because, he said, they will give Burundians who have the right to vote and who have registered the opportunity to speak for or against the new draft amendment to the Constitution of Burundi.
“These elections are important and show that we are Burundians wishing to take a step forward by putting in place a Constitution that complies with current times of the country’s life,” said the chairman of the CENI, adding that the same elections show that Burundi is independent and that Burundians wish to consolidate the independence and sovereignty of their country. These elections, he said, are a new step in a long process of consolidating a democracy based on the opinions of the people.
According to Mr. Ndayicariye, the mission entrusted to the CENI by the State is at a satisfactory level. He said the work on the computerization of voter data has already been completed since March 17, 2018 thanks to the support of the Burundian Association “G and C Vision”, which assisted in the collection of data from the interior of the country and from abroad since February 22, 2018.
The work that will follow is to correct any errors and imperfections after the CENI, in collaboration with the Independent Provincial Electoral Commissions (CEPI) and Independent Communal Electoral Commissions (CECI), have released and posted, in the countryside, the provisional voters lists where all Burundians will be called upon to go to check if they have been well registered, specified the CENI chairman. He pointed out that those lists will be posted in the various registration centers of the country where the posting agents will be available to make minutes that will be forwarded to Bujumbura to be corrected before the CENI publishes final voters lists.
The CENI chairman recalled that the Head of State has recently signed Decree No. 100/027 of March 16, 2018 convening voters for the 2018 constitutional referendum to be held on Thursday May 17, 2018. He took the opportunity to call on political parties, coalitions and independent individuals who would like to go to the campaign to vote “yes” or “no”, to register at the headquarters of the CENI from March 23 to April 6, 2018.
With a view to preparing well for that appointment of next May, another appeal was made to political parties and civil society organizations that would like to follow the conduct of the elections. He informed them that the accreditations of observers and agents of political parties will be issued from April 15 to April 30, 2018.
Before the said campaign begins, Ndayicariye said, the CENI plans to hold a meeting of political party leaders on the single ballot specimen that will be used to convince their followers to vote for or against the Constitution. The campaign will only take 14 days, he said.
Mr Ndayicariye asked everyone to support the CENI, CEPI and CECI, as well as all those polling station agents. He made a strong appeal to everyone to teach the Burundians to keep the receipt attesting their registration, the national identity card and the voter card because, he said, it is the voter card that will be issued this year that will also be used in the 2020 elections.
The step already taken by the CENI in the preparation of the elections is satisfactory, said Ndayicariye, indicating that the partners to whom the State has entrusted the purchase of equipment are all at work. He took the opportunity to ask all those who won the contract to honor the commitments, especially by sending all the agreed material to the CENI in time.
The CENI is asking provincial and communal officials to raise the public’s awareness to come massively to verify their names on the provisional voters lists in a timely manner because, according to Mr. Ndayicariye, they will only be posted for three days. He also asked the same administrative officials as well as the defense and security forces to remain calm and to ensure the safeguarding of peace and security so that the upcoming elections can be held freely.
Those electoral partners were leaders of political parties, political actors, leaders of civil society organizations as well as representatives of religious denominations.