UN official says Burundi isn’t ready to hold elections in 2020

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Michel Kafando, the United Nations Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Burundi, says the East African nation isn’t ready to hold credible elections in 2020.

Burundi is gearing up to hold a referendum over constitutional changes that would allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a fourth term in 2020 while the government is raising funds for the election through public taxation. However, the UN’s Michel Kafando says the country’s current situation is “not suitable” for holding credible elections.

Burundi gearing up for elections

Michel Kafando comments come as the Burundi government is accused of forcing people to register for voting in the country’s upcoming election, where a “yes” vote would allow it to make constitutional changes that allow ruling president Pierre Nkurunziza to run again.

The president’s decision to run for a third term in power during the country’s 2015 election sparked one of the region’s most serious security crises. It took the government a number of years to bring relative peace back to the country but it has come at the price of grave human rights abuses, which are still happening at an alarming rate.

Michel Kafando insists dialogue between the ruling party and opposition groups is vital if Burundi wants to hold credible elections and establish lasting peace beyond 2020.

“Dialogue remains indispensable, as the process sought to bring Burundians closer together with a view to building a strong nation,” he said.

Featured image: By Rubencheto – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43672760

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.