'Burundi referendum taking place in a closed & repressive political environment'

Burundians are voting in a constitutional referendum that if passed could see President Pierre Nkurunziza's stay in power extended until 2034.

The referendum has to be approved by more than 50 percent of voters for the proposed changes to be made to the constitution.

We are now looking at a consolidation of presidential powers and the scrapping of the Arusha peace accord which guaranteed ethnic balance in that country.

Stephanie Wolters, Head of Peace & Security Research Programme at Institute of Security Studies

READ: Africa Report: Burundians enroll for referendum

This referendum is taking place in a closed and repressive political environment and we do not expect that the outcome will really reflect the views of the Burundian population.

Stephanie Wolters, Head of Peace & Security Research Programme at Institute of Security Studies

ALSO READ: Burundi leadership uncertain during civilian-military face-off

Wolters says media freedom and human rights have not existed since 2015. She says Burundi cannot be called a place where people can express themselves freely.

Find out why Wolters says continental mechanisms are needed


This article first appeared on 702 : 'Burundi referendum taking place in a closed & repressive political environment'


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