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Presidential election in Burundi: for Domitien Ndayizeye, “since 2005, it has been the denial of the Arusha agreement”

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Seven candidates are in the running for the presidential election next Wednesday, May 20, in Burundi. The campaign ends this Sunday, May 17. RFI gives the floor to all the candidates. Domitien Ndayizeye, supported by the Kira Burundi coalition, presents his program to us.

What are your main priorities if you are elected?

Domitien Ndayizeye: My main priorities are the fight against poverty. It is the fight against the violation of human rights, it is the return of public freedoms, of real democracy in the country.

Do you think that the spirit of the Arusha agreement signed in 2000 and which led to national reconciliation has disappeared today?

Exactly. What the Arusha Agreement enshrines democracy, and democracy enshrines a multi-party system. What we have seen since 2005 is intolerance towards other political parties, in particular through the Imbonerakure, but also through the refusal to accept elements from other political parties, not only in the institutions of the Republic , but also in the country’s economic activities, particularly in terms of employment, etc. All this, for me, confirms the denial of the Arusha agreement. This has led Burundi to decline, not only economic, but also political decline, therefore the absence of this symbiosis that the Arusha agreement has wanted for a long time and which it has called by name reconciliation.

You say that we must end the Nkurunziza system, but why not have chosen to join Agathon Rwasa, the leader of the opposition? Wouldn’t the opposition have been stronger if it was united?

You know, everyone has their own policy. In any case, if everyone votes against the institutions of the current Republic, they will not have this majority. So even if there is a second round, this is when we could consider carrying a vote on a person of our choice.

Are you worried today  ?

I am not happy with the climate that prevails today. Because, first of all, there is a certain intolerance between certain political parties. The Independent National Electoral Commission does not meet all the requirements recommended by law, including the publication of the voters list.

Isn’t it neutral  ?

No, it is not. I apologize a lot, but it is not, to the point that people today prefer previous commissions over this one.

And do you think this ballot will be fair  ?

I would be very surprised if the ballot was fair, but at the political level, in Burundi, we believe that it is much more damaging not to participate in the elections today. And we consider that participating in it highlights many of the gaps that have been hidden in previous periods. I am sure it tests our governing parties as well.

Is it better than the empty chair?

Absolutely. I think we lost a lot of time with absences from previous periods.

What are the risks  ? What do you fear for Burundi  ?

The risk of contestation is possible. Unfortunately, we have a CENI as I told you, which is not neutral, and that risks plunging Burundi into an uncertain period, if this commission continues to work as we see it today.

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