The elections in Burundi will reportedly go on as planned Tuesday, when President Pierre Nkurunziza will likely win a third consecutive term in a vote marred by controversy amid violence in a divided country, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP). The elections will reportedly go on as planned on Tuesday.
Burundian writer Roland Rugero tweeted a photo of what appeared to be court documents that said it was, "neither judicious nor necessary or desirable to issue” the orders that would have allowed the election to be delayed.
— Roland Rugero (@RolandRugero) July 20, 2015
The 51-year-old president was not facing any opposition in the election after opponents dropped out because they considered Nkurunziza's candidacy unconstitutional and accused the government of intimidation tactics. Domitien Ndayizeye and Sylvestre Ntibantunganya -- both former presidents -- and Jean Minani, former speaker of parliament, said in a letter to the electoral commission on Saturday that the current environment did not allow for fair elections, reported Al Jazeera. Nkurunziza, a former rebel, was seeking a controversial third term because his first term was appointed, not elected.
"The government has opted to isolate itself and go ahead with pseudo-elections," Leonce Ngendakumana, an opposition figure, said on Sunday to AFP, after crisis talks mediated by Uganda broke down.
Anti-Nkurunziza protests have erupted in the past two months, sparking a government crackdown that has left at least 100 dead, AFP reported. "It's very irresponsible," said Minani to AFP. "They have refused to save Burundi from sliding into an abyss."
— Will Swanson (@willswanson) July 20, 2015
Hundreds of thousands of people have also fled the country fearing the country would be overtaken by violence. Many in Burundi feared a war similar to the country's last civil war, which ended in 2005 but left 300,000 dead after 12 years.
Save the Children, an NGO that advocates for children's rights and provides relief and support in developing countries, said the 165,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries over the last few months, including 78,000 refugees currently in Nyarugusu, a Tanzanian camp. The organization estimated that one-in-five refugees at the camp were children under five years old, and said that four infants have already died from malnutrition.
“Refugee families arriving in Nyarugusu camp have been turning up in much worse shape than they were before, many having suffered extremely stressful journeys to reach here," said Lisa Parrott, acting country director, Save the Children Tanzania, according to a statement.
— Zoe Flood (@Zoe_Flood) July 20, 2015
Rebel generals failed in a coup attempt to overthrow Nkurunziza in May, but the group has continued a rebellion in the north of the country, AFP reported. Controversy grew as the president’s ruling CNDD-FDD party won parliamentary elections on July 7 that were boycotted by opposition.
The United Nations and the East African Community, a bloc of five regional nations, have been trying to mediate a solution with no success. AFP reported that talks appeared to be dead and that sources, along with crisis prevention groups, suggested country's security could deteriorate quickly.
Nkurunziza, however, said that his presidency and political party support keeping the peace. "If you choose the CNDD-FDD you are sure of five more years of peace," he said Friday at a rally, according to AFP.