BURUNDI PREPARES FOR LANDMARK VOTE DESPITE PANDEMIC
On Wednesday 20 May, Burundi will hold parliamentary and presidential elections, five years after the incumbent president’s controversial third term sparked widespread violence. This election campaign has been the most competitive in almost three decades, after a long civil war and then 15 years under President Pierre Nkurunziza. Analysts believe that there is a close race between the ruling CNDD-FDD party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiy and the main opposition National Congress for Liberty (CNL) nominee Agathon Rwasa. Burundi has suffered from conflict and instability since it gained independence in 1962, including assassinations, coups, episodes of ethnic cleansing, and civil wars. Burundi will also become the first country to run a presidential vote during the coronavirus pandemic, just days after authorities kicked out the World Health Organisation.
From a Christian perspective, believers in Burundi are cautiously optimistic that this election might bring the breakthrough that they have been praying for, for many years. During the controversial 2015 elections, a number of pastors spoke out against the president’s actions to force a third term in contravention of the 2005 Arusha Peace Agreement, and many were imprisoned, killed, or forced to flee into exile. Christians have been far more cautious during these elections and have focused their efforts on prayer and working within their communities to build unity and reconciliation efforts. The Anglican Church of Burundi, in collaboration with the United Nations’ children’s organisation UNICEF, has conducted an intensive training course for youth in peacebuilding and social cohesion. Theirs is among several initiatives being undertaken by the Church to encourage people to approach the election process responsibly and engage in peacebuilding with their communities before, during, and after the elections.
Pray with us for the following:
- For a peaceful and fair election
- For a breakthrough in the political process, leading to greater stability
- For believers to remain steadfast in their reconciliation and peace-building efforts