Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Burundi Election Results Due Today, But President Pierre Nkurunziza Is Bound to Be Elected.

Today is the day that the results of Monday's presidential election are supposed to be announced. The result, however, is a foregone conclusion because all opposition candidates had withdrawn. According to one source, one of the possible challengers, former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa says the government planned to arrest him on charges of planning to mount a new insurgency.

The country in the Great Lakes region of Central Africa is Rwanda's twin, and has suffered Tutsi-Hutu violence for decades, although it did not experience the genocide that Rwanda went through in 1994. Nevertheless, over the last few years a slow process toward power sharing between the major ethnic groups appeared to be in place. In May opposition parties charged massive irregularities in local elections, and demanded recounts.

The All Africa news agency commented then: "Human rights watchdogs have warned of election violence as political parties bolster their ranks with former soldiers. Both the ruling party and the opposition have claimed that each side is raising youth militias to act as activist thugs. The country is emerging from a long civil war that killed hundred of thousands of people. Most of the political parties in this year's elections are former rebels and there are fears that peace will disintegrate if the polls become too divisive."

What follows now will be of great interest to those who care about the welfare of this small, poor country--and about the ways that people strive to find ways to live together peacefully.

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