Burundi court upholds disputed presidential election results

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Burundi’s constitutional court on Thursday upheld the results of last month’s presidential election and rejected the complaints filed by opposition leader Agathon Rwasa, who had alleged widespread irregularities.

The court upheld the win of ruling party candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye with 68 per cent of the vote, with Rwasa receiving 24 per cent. The court called Rwasa’s complaint unfounded and said any irregularities could not taint the entire electoral process in the East African nation.

Rwasa, who is also the first Vice President of the National Assembly, and CNL party spokesman Therence Manirambona were not available to comment.

But Rwasa earlier told The Associated Press that he would take the matter to the East African Court of Justice based in neighbouring Tanzania if he was not satisfied with the court’s decision. Rwasa had alleged the stuffing of ballot boxes and said the electoral roll had never been published. “Not a single district, no single province was spared,” he said after going to court.

Burundi’s Catholic bishops conference also questioned the vote, saying they witnessed “intimidation and constraints exerted by some administration officials who accompanied voters to the voting booths, the exclusion of observers from places where votes were counted, the intrusion of unauthorised persons into places where votes were counted” and voting in the name of the dead. Ndayishimiye, 52, will succeed President Pierre Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005.

The ruling party has said Nkurunziza will have the title “Supreme Guide” after he steps down, and many believe he will wield considerable influence behind the scenes.