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Court rejects Burundian opposition bid to annul poll results3 minutes read

The panel of judges said the CNL had failed to provide sufficient evidence and ruled the complaints were “null and void”, validating Evariste Ndayishimiye’s victory with 68.7 percent of the vote.



Presidential Candidate and Leader of opposition National Freedom Council (CNL), Agathon Rwasa

Burundi’s constitutional court has rejected an opposition bid to overturn the results of the May 20th presidential election, declaring the ruling party’s candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye the winner.

The opposition National Freedom Council (CNL), headed by Agathon Rwasa, had alleged the May 20 general election was riddled with fraud and irregularities, including intimidation of voters, the arrest of opposition polling agents, ballot stuffing and proxy voting. 

However the panel of judges said the CNL had failed to provide sufficient evidence and ruled the complaints were “null and void”, validating Ndayishimiye’s victory with 68.7 percent of the vote.

Rwasa’s share of the vote was given at 24.18 percent while opposition party UPRONA won 1.63 percent.

The ruling CNDD-FDD won 86 seats in parliament and the CNL 32, while UPRONA won two. Three seats are constitutionally reserved for the minority Twa ethnic group.

The ruling party’s information secretary Nancy Ninette Mutoni on Twitter hailed a turnout of 87.71 percent of 5.1 million registered voters.

Heavily armed police were deployed around the country’s main city Bujumbura for the court’s ruling.

The CNL appeared resigned to an outcome it had predicted.

“We were not expecting a miracle, despite the massive fraud and numerous irregularities that we presented to the court and despite the Catholic Church’s report,” party secretary general Simon Bizimungu told AFP.

“We are not surprised, because the court system is not independent in Burundi.”

Burundi’s Catholic Church said last week its observers stationed at polling centres across the country also witnessed ballot box tampering, officials harassing and intimidating voters, and proxies registered “in place of dead people and refugees”.

Foreign observers were not allowed to oversee the electoral process.

A joint statement issued by western diplomats made no reference to any irregularities and urged the opposition to pursue legal paths to contest the election outcome.

“The elections took place in a highly repressive environment with no independent international observers,” said Lewis Mudge of Human Rights Watch in a statement on Monday.

“Reports of killings, arbitrary arrests, beatings, and voter intimidation during the campaigns should not be brushed under the rug.”

One voter told the rights watchdog that the feared youth wing of the ruling party, known as the Imbonerakure, which the United Nations has described as a militia, were inside the voting station “telling people to vote for the CNDD-FDD.”

– Challenges ahead -Ndayishimiye, 52, a former army general who was handpicked by ruling party elites to succeed veteran President Pierre Nkurunziza, will be sworn in in August for a seven-year mandate.

Nkurunziza will step aside after 15 tumultuous years. His controversial bid to stand for a third term in 2015 sparked violence and a major political crisis which left at least 1,200 dead and saw 400,000 flee the country.

The regime tightened its grip on the country, and allegations of rights violations by security forces have soared in recent years.

Ndayishimiye is described by those who know him as more open-minded than many in the ruling CNDD-FDD party, and is not associated with the worst abuses of recent years.

However observers say he did not stand out as trying to rein in the violence that erupted after the 2015 election.

He is set to inherit a deeply isolated country, under sanctions and cut off by foreign donors, its economy and national psyche damaged by years of political violence and rights violations.

A first major challenge is likely to be the coronavirus outbreak until now largely ignored in the country, which has taken few measures to combat it, with authorities claiming God is protecting Burundi from its worst ravages.

The country has officially recorded 63 cases and one death, however doctors in Bujumbura speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity say many cases and deaths are going unreported.

Burundi’s first lady Denise Bucumi is currently in a Nairobi hospital after being evacuated last week, with a high-ranking government official and a source in the presidency confirming she had tested positive for the virus. 

East Africa Politics News

Zambia’s President Lungu Defends Investments In Road Works



Zambian President Edgar Lungu on Friday defended his government’s decision to embark on massive road works across the country, saying it was necessary to enhance investments.

Lungu, who commissioned a newly-constructed flyover bridge in Lusaka, the country’s capital said; “Of course our critics have said, and they continue to campaign that we were reckless for having borrowed but they were shy to tell the people frankly how that money we borrowed had been used.’’

The Zambian leader said his government had prioritised investing money into improving the country’s road networks because of the benefits that would be realised.

According to him, investors will only come to Zambia if there is a proper road network.

Lungu said that investors were not keen to put up factories in a country with a poor road network.

“Investors believe in efficiency and they do not want to spend hours on short distances due to bad roads,’’ he said.

He noted that with increased investments, the government would be able to create jobs for its citizens so that they contribute to the country’s development.

Lungu expressed gratitude that the transformation agenda of the country was being achieved through the infrastructure projects being put in place across the country.

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North Africa Politics

Libya’s Prime Minister Withdraws Resignation



Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj on Friday withdrew his decision to resign and will remain in office until the ongoing intra-Libyan political dialogue is concluded.

The 60-year-old is the head of the Tripoli-based internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

Al-Serraj’s decision comes a day after the High Council of State urged him to stay until a new Presidential Council is selected – to avoid a potential political vacuum, which could come at a detriment to the country’s stability.

The United Nations’ Support Mission in Libya and the country’s parliament in Tripoli also urged the Prime Minister to defer his resignation, citing reasons of higher national interest.

Al-Serraj announced his plans to resign in September, noting that he would hand over power no later than the end of October, as part of a historic deal to end years of conflict with a rival political faction led by renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar.

Last week, the two warring sides signed an agreement in Geneva for a permanent ceasefire, stating that all foreign fighters and mercenaries are to leave the country within the next three months; and are due to hold in-person negotiations to discuss national elections and the reunification of the armed forces.

Libya descended into a state of civil war after the overthrow and killing of strongman nationalist leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The North African country was split between two main factions – the GNA in Tripoli, backed by Turkey and Qatar, and Haftar’s forces in the east, backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.

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East Africa Politics News

Tanzania’s Main Opposition Parties Reject Election Results, Demand Fresh Poll



The Party for Democracy and Progress, commonly known as Chadema, and the Alliance for Change and Transparency–Wazalendo (ACT–Wazalendo) have rejected Tanzania’s election results and demanded fresh polls be conducted.

The two main opposition parties in the East African country denounced last week’s presidential vote as fraudulent.

The Chadema and ACT-Wazalendo parties, in a joint news conference, also called for mass protests from Monday.

Incumbent President John Magufuli was declared victor in Wednesday’s election with 84% of the vote.

Chadema alleges ballot boxes were tampered with after its agents were stopped from entering polling stations.

“We first call for fresh elections as soon as possible,” the party’s chairman, Freeman Mbowe, said on Saturday.

“We call for continuous, peaceful, countrywide demonstrations until our demands are met.”

ACT-Wazalendo leader Zitto Kabwe said the decision was for “the future of our country”.

“We cannot accept going back to a one-party system,” he added.

Tundu Lissu – Chadema’s candidate for president and Mr Magufuli’s main rival – won just 13% of the vote. He said on Thursday it “was not an election by both Tanzanian and international laws. It was just a gang of people who have just decided to misuse state machinery to cling to power”.

The head of the National Electoral Commission, Semistocles Kaijage, said allegations of fake ballot papers were unsubstantiated.

An observer mission from the East African Community said the election was “conducted in a regular manner” but the US embassy in Dar es Salaam said that “irregularities and the overwhelming margins of victory raise serious doubts about the credibility of the results… as well as concerns about the government of Tanzania’s commitment to democratic values”.

Mr Magufuli has been president since 2015 but his CCM party has been in power since independence in 1961.

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