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Burundi expels senior World Health Organization official, experts

Burundi expels senior World Health Organization official, experts”

Campaign rallies by candidates for the presidency are taking place across the nation ahead of the 20 May election and no measures to contain the virus are being observed - sparking fears of its imminent spread. His consistent complaints about vote rigging and the unlevel playing field could indicate that he is preparing for an even bigger complaint about the credibility of the polls. Burundi has kicked out World Health Organization workers after concerns were raised.

The abuses began in earnest in 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza began agitating to extend his term in office. The election should be conducted freely and results should be respected for the mental, health, social, and economic well being of all Burundians.

The UN and rights organisations attribute much of the violence to the Imbonerakure, members of the ruling party's youth wing which the UN describes as a militia, as well as the feared national intelligence agency which answers directly to the president, the police, and to a lesser extent the army. The ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) also controls the electoral commission and the Constitutional Court. Critics say almost all of the national government's attention has been focused on Burundi's upcoming election, according to the report.

Opposition candidate Rwasa told RFI's Service Afrique that there have been flagrant violations of the electoral code and "many, many irregularities because the CNDD-FDD wants to hold on to power at all costs". Agathon Rwasa, the main opposition candidate, has said that the president has taken advantage of the absence of poll monitors to skew the election in the favour of the ruling party, the CNDD-FDD.

The problem is that barring a few NGOs and courageous journalists who are risking their lives to report independently on the elections, it will be hard to know whether Rwasa - if he loses and cries foul - is telling the truth. "I see the country far more divided", said Désiré Nzisabira, a Burundian working for an worldwide organisation in Johannesburg.

Hartill, the Burundi researcher, said disputed election results could put the country back on edge.

EAC's hope of observing the Burundi elections were dealt a blow after ministry in charge of EAC affairs insisted on a 14-day quarantine in line with anti-Covid 19 measures.

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"Since then all activity is paralysed, no test can be carried out, it is a catastrophe", a staff member of the institute claimed. But reports say medical personnel in Bujumbura have been treating many more Covid-19 patients.

According to an ISS Burundi consultant, who can not be named for safety reasons, there is a good chance the elections will lead to another prolonged political crisis if the ruling party wins by a narrow margin and Rwasa then cries foul.

Rwasa, the deputy speaker of parliament has earlier twice tried his lot in the presidential elections.

Highlighting the risk involved, the CDC head said it will be extremely hard for the country to overcome the virus.

Burundi has been marred by violence since 2015 when Nkurunziza announced his bid for a controversial third term in office, one which he went on to win. Close to 350 000 refugees are living outside the country, mostly in Tanzania.

More than one thousand people were killed during the crisis, according to some estimates. Will he be able to mend fences in a neighbourhood characterised by political crisis and animosity?

"The ruling party and the government is trying to show that this is a legitimate process", she said. This, however, remains to be seen. A 45-year-old vegetable seller in the capital, Bujumbura, supported the ruling party because it had provided welfare.



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