Burundi appeals for ‘national solidarity’ to fund controversial elections
The government of Burundi on Tuesday appealed for public donations so that it could go ahead with controversial elections that have sparked weeks of civil unrest and a coup attempt.
A statement from the presidency said funds were needed to beef up its “commitment to reinforce a democratic culture based on the universal principle that people can choose their leaders.”
“The government invites patriotic citizens convinced by this noble principle to give a voluntary contribution to help the efforts that are already supported by other friends of Burundi,” the statement added.
The appeal comes after former colonial power Belgium, a key donor to the central African nation, announced earlier this month that it was suspending aid for elections following violent clashes between security forces and protesters against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.
The European Union is also withholding its aid for the polls.
Burundi’s crisis erupted after the ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated Nkurunziza to stand again in the June 26 presidential election, prompting street protests by activists and opposition groups that have so far left at least 30 people dead.
Opposition and rights groups say that Nkurunziza’s bid for a third five-year term violates the constitution as well as the terms of a peace deal that ended a 13-year civil war in 2006.
Parliamentary polls, initially set to take place on Tuesday, have been postponed to June 5.