AFRICA/BURUNDI - "There is still time for the May 20 vote to take place in peace and security" say the Bishops

Friday, 15 May 2020 elections   bishops   violence   coronavirus  

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - "We appreciate the fact that, in general, the current election campaign has so far continued peacefully and safely. However, we cannot fail to deplore some shortcomings and the non-reassuring language used by some of the protagonists of the election campaign", said the Bishops of Burundi in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, on the general elections to be held on May 20.
The Bishops in particular condemn "the kidnappings of people, one of whom was found dead after four days. We regret the provocations, the manhunt and the persecutions recorded in certain places, while those who should investigate and punish the guilty find it difficult to carry out this role impartially".
"We are also concerned about the language of some political parties indicating that they are not ready to accept the poll results if they do not win the elections", say the Bishops, who are wondering what will happen after the announcement of the election result.
After asking everyone, including journalists, to work to ensure that the vote is held in a peaceful manner, and to avoid incitement to hatred, the Bishops urge the population to "remain committed to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic by respecting the protection measures for themselves and for others".
"We conclude by asking everyone: candidates for the elections, their supporters, members of CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission), public authorities, those responsible for justice, law enforcement and security, as well as Burundians, to maintain the hope and will that these elections take place in safety and peacefully", concludes the message.
The elections on May 20 involve the election of the Head of State and the National Assembly. Several human rights organizations have denounced repressions and violence committed by Burundian authorities and members of outgoing President Pierre Nkurunziza's party, including kidnappings and extrajudicial killings. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 15/5/2020)