Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Capital Business
Capital Business

Social Media

Burundi cuts off social media access as protests continue in the capital

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, Apr 29 – The authorities cut mobile access to several social networks and messaging applications including Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, which have been used to coordinate protests.

At least five people have died since unrest broke out at the weekend after the ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza for a controversial third term bid.

Protest-hit Burundi took the presidential bid to the constitutional court but opposition supporters dismissed the move and said demonstrations would go on ahead of the presidential election to be held in the central African nation on June 26.

 

Demonstrators and police faced off in the capital Bujumbura Wednesday, but the city was far quieter than in previous days, with some shops reopening and a heavy police deployment on the streets.

 

“All the roads are blocked by police… but the protests will not stop until he gives up the third term,” said Thierry, a demonstrator.

 

Opposition figures and rights groups say Nkurunziza’s attempt to stand for a third consecutive term goes against the constitution as well as the peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

 

The Senate has submitted a motion has to the constitutional court seeking interpretation of the issue.

 

But opposition leaders such as lawmaker Jean Minani were dismissive of what they said was a court loyal to the president.

 

“It is as if the Senate had asked Nkurunziza himself to interpret the constitution,” Minani told AFP. “The opposition… will continue to say no to the third term.”

 

But Nkurunziza has remained defiant: his communication chief has insisted it was “out of the question” that he would back down on his bid for a third term.

 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Roads blocked by police 

 

Amid international concern, UN chief Ban Ki-moon dispatched his envoy Said Djinnit to Burundi, urging “all sides to reject violence” and hate speech.

 

US Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights Tom Malinowski was also due in Bujumbura.

 

Hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the 13-year civil war, which divided the country along ethnic lines, between the Hutu majority and Tutsi people.

 

The government has banned all protests and deployed large numbers of police and troops on the streets since Sunday, firing live ammunition, tear gas and water cannon.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

 

Hundreds of stone-throwing protesters have been arrested.

 

Some of those killed were shot at close range, while the police said at least 37 officers have been wounded.

 

The main independent radio station has also been shut down, while the attorney-general has set up a special commission to identify and arrest those accused of sparking an “insurrection” through the protests.

 

The president, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian from the Hutu majority, has been in power for two terms since 2005.

 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

His supporters say he is eligible to run again, as his first term in office was after he was elected by parliament — not directly by the people as the constitution states.

 

The constitution says the president is elected by universal direct suffrage, “for a mandate of five years renewable one time”.

 

The country is also holding parliamentary elections on May 26, a month ahead of the presidential vote.

 

Some 25,000 Burundians have fled the country in recent weeks, according to the UN refugee agency, which has warned the numbers could rise.

 

Many are fleeing threats by the pro-government militia Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling party.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

 

Rights groups allege that the militia has been armed and trained over the past year in order to help Nkurunziza remain in office.

 

The United Nations warned Wednesday up to 400,000 people could be affected in a worse case scenario should the upcoming elections turn violent, in an appeal to donors for extra cash to prepare.

 

“Tensions continue to increase and the political landscape is marred by polarisation and limited political space,” according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

 

“These persisting challenges could potentially trigger electoral violence, with massive humanitarian impact for Burundi and the neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes region.”

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Click to comment
Advertisement

More on Capital Business

Executive Lifestyle

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – The country’s super wealthy individuals are increasing their holding of bonds, gold and cash, a new report by Knight...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi has urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution when making any...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 18 – Commercial Banks have been ordered to provide relief to borrowers on their personal loans, with loans eligible from March...

Ask Kirubi

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 24 – Businessman and industrialist Dr. Chris Kirubi is set to own half of Centum Investment Company PLC, following a go-ahead...

Kenya

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun17 – Kenya’s tea leaves manufacturer Kericho Gold, has been awarded the Superbrands Seal by Superbrands East Africa for their quality variety...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 22 – Airtel Kenya is offering free internet access for students in order to enable continued learning at home in the...

Coronavirus

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 13 – As the local telecommunications industry gears up to roll out 5G networks in the country, the Communications Authority of...

Headlines

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 16 – The World Bank has given the Kenyan government USD 60 Million (Sh6.1 billion) to help combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic...