On Monday, Burundi held its municipal elections, the first in a series of five over the next few months, and the first since the last rebel group put down their weapons and ended the Civil War.
Problems with insufficient voting papers in some polling stations meant the vote had been delayed from Friday 21 May. The vote proceeded peacefully, with a huge turnout – official figures suggest around 90per cent of Burundians voted – and many queued from the early morning to ensure they had a chance to cast their vote.
Provisional results show a clear victory for the ruling CNDD-FDD party, receiving an average of 80 per cent of the vote in the constituencies that have declared. However, opposition parties have expressed concern over the vote. An alliance of eight parties have signed a joint statement alleging fraud, their main points are:
The National Electoral Commission has denied these allegations.
Attending the vote, I noticed some administrative problems – mistakes were made in the lists of voters, and there was a lack of voting cards in some places. Also, the margin of victory for the ruling party is so large, that it raises the question of whether these were truly multi-party elections, and if the vote was free and fair.
In many ways the election was a success, they were peaceful and there was a huge turnout. But, questions over the counting, the transport of ballot boxes, and the size of the CNDD-FDD victory, need to be answered if Burundians are to be sure the elections are credible.
Bosco, Amahoro Youth Club, Burundi