AFRICA/BURUNDI - The Church withdraws from the election process: "we cannot make ourselves guarantors of elections full of gaps"

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - The Catholic Church will not participate in the legislative elections in Burundi: says a statement of the Episcopal Conference of Burundi. "After taking into account the way in which the elections are organized, we Bishops of the Catholic Church believe that priests have to resign and give way to those who can continue the work", said His Exc. Mgr. Gervais Bashimiyubusa, Bishop of Ngozi and President of the Episcopal Conference of Burundi. Several priests in fact occupy important positions in the provincial and municipal election commissions of the Country. "We cannot make ourselves guarantors of elections full of gaps", said Mgr. Bashimiyubusa.
"No word yet on if and when there will be legislative elections, initially planned on June 5" explain local sources to Agenzia Fides, who requested anonymity for security reasons. "Only two parties are campaigning, all the others have decided to boycott the vote".
On June 26, presidential elections are expected, where President Pierre Nkurunziza would like to candidate himself for a third term, in violation of the Constitution and the Arusha Accords, which ended the civil war that lasted 13 years (1993-2006), causing the protests that paralyzed the Country for weeks. "All, opposition parties, Burundian civil society, African and international institutions have said that it is not possible to vote in these conditions", emphasize local sources. "Protests against the hypothesis of a third term of outgoing President continue, both in the capital, Bujumbura, and in some provinces", added our source. "Police and army do not allow anyone to enter the center of Bujumbura. So far thirty people have been killed in clashes with the police". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 28/05/2015)