May 28th 2020AS PEOPLE ELSEWHERE hunkered down at home to avoid covid-19, millions in Burundi crowded into polling stations on May 20th to vote in t
AS PEOPLE ELSEWHERE hunkered down at home to avoid covid-19, millions in Burundi crowded into polling stations on May 20th to vote in the general election. Among the many voters were scores of dead people, activists allege. Human-rights watchdogs said that members of the ruling party, CNDD-FDD, boosted its tallies by adding the ballots of people locked up in jail—and of those who had died.
“When I saw the same person voting for the third time I complained,” says one voter. He was sent packing by officials and told to “stop creating problems”.
Shenanigans such as these might explain why, for instance, in Bukeye in Muramvya province 4,000 more votes were cast than there were voters on the register. Another reason could be that some boxes already had papers in them when polling stations opened, suggests Aimé Magera, spokesman for the National Freedom Council (CNL), an opposition party. Few in Burundi were surprised when the ruling party’s candidate, Evariste Ndayishimiye, was declared the winner with 69% of the vote. Mr Ndayishimiye, an ex-general, was handpicked by Pierre Nkurunziza, the outgoing president who has ruled since 2005. Mr Nkurunziza is no stranger to controversy. In 2015 he won a third term, despite a constitutional limit of two. (He said his first term didn’t count, as he was chosen by parliament, rather than directly elected.)
Agathon Rwasa, the…