The Independent National Election Commission on Monday declared the candidate for Burundi ruling party, Évariste Ndayishimiye, winner of the May 20 presidential election.
Évariste Ndayishimiye, the candidate for the Burundi ruling party, was announced on Monday, May 25, winner of the presidential election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Céni). The latter had so far published partial results which gave it a very large lead over their opponents. Final figures will be released on June 4th.
The governing party, the CNDD-FDD, won a major victory in the presidential, legislative and municipal elections, according to the partial results of the 119 municipalities in the country published since Thursday by the Burundian media.
Opposition condemns the power to “cheat”
Thus, at age 52, General Ndayishimiy must succeed President Pierre Nkurunziza. In power since 2005, he had decided not to stand for a fourth term and had called him his “heir.”
The main opposition candidate, Agathon Rwasa, chairman of the National Council for Freedom (CNL), has already described these results as “imaginative” and accused the government of “cheating” and “pure manipulation”.
According to partial results compiled by AFP and comprising 105 municipalities, ÉvaristeNdayishimiye receives an absolute majority of the votes in 101 municipalities. In the four municipalities where he was beaten, he never lost less than 43% of the vote. It receives at least 70% of the votes in 66 municipalities and more than 50% in 35 others.
During the election, despite the coronavirus pandemic, the elections were generally kept calm, but since Wednesday, CNL condemned the pressure on its assessors, some of whom were arrested, as well as massive fraud.
No government-authorized UN observation mission
Thus, Agathon Rwasa received only 24.6% of the votes in Kabezi, a municipality in the Bujumbura rural province (west of the country), but is still considered one of its historic holdings.
CNL is also annoyed by the case in the municipality of Musigati (west), where General Ndayishimiye gathers 99.9% of the vote. According to an AFP calculation, the participation rate is over 102%.
Many Burundian witnesses and journalists confirmed to the AFP the validity of these allegations, although no UN or African Union observation mission had been approved by the government.
Analysts had expected a duel between ÉvaristeNdayishimiye and Agathon Rwasa, who had drawn crowds during the campaign, sparked violence and arbitrary arrests.
A diplomat stationed in Burundi expressed strong doubts about the results. “We expected it to happen that way, no one could imagine for a second that the CNDD-FDD and its generals would thereby dispense power,” he said on condition of anonymity. “If there is no violence, everyone will be happy with the outcome that will be announced,” he predicted. “We will be positive and take note of CNDD-FDD’s new face (…) to encourage change and political transparency.”
Since the political crisis of 2015, triggered by the nomination of Pierre Nkurunziza for a controversial third term, leBurundi has been subject to sanctions from its main donors, such as the European Union, Belgium or even l ‘Germany. This political crisis has left at least 1,200 dead and forced some 400,000 Burundians to flee.
The country is held by an iron hand of the regime thanks to “Imbonerakure”, the youth league in the CNDD-FDD and the National Intelligence Service (SNR), which spreads terror among the population.
Agathon Rwasa has already hinted that he will not appeal to the streets right now and that he would be pleased to appeal to the Constitutional Court. However, without having illusions about its results, as it considers that this body is subject to power.
Free yourself from Nkurunziza
Given General Évariste Ndayishimiye as more conciliatory than his predecessor, Pierre Nkurunziza, the international community seems ready to accommodate the new Burundian president. Although as Secretary General of the CNDD-FDD since 2016, he did not prevent human rights violations.
It also remains to be seen how “Neva”, his nickname, will be able to free himself from PierreNkurunziza’s leadership, elevated to rank as the “Highest Guide to Patriotism” in February by the National Assembly, and who will remain the president of the highly influential Council in wise men in the party.
Évariste Ndayishimiye, who has promised to make the country’s economic recovery a priority, should be invested in August (the date of the end of PierreNkurunziza’s term of office), for a period of seven years.
Burundi is ranked among the three poorest countries in the world according to the World Bank. According to the latter, 75% of the population lives below the poverty line, compared to 65% when PierreNkurunziza came to power in 2005.