- Provisional figures are showing that 90 percent of Burundi's electorate voted in the constitutional referendum earlier this week. More than 90 percent of the voters had cast a "yes" ballot, while about 8 percent voted "no", according to official preliminary results. The new constitution details a power-sharing model between Burundi's Hutu and Tutsi.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) of Burundi today announced the first preliminary results of Monday's constitutional referendum. According to these numbers, very few Burundians missed the opportunity of participating in the poll and almost all voters polled in favour of the new constitution.
CENI issued a statement saying some 90 percent of the country's 3 million registered electorate voted with more than 90 percent casting a "yes" ballot, while about 8 percent voted "no." If these results are maintained, that means that a majority of both Burundi's main population groups, the Hutu and Tutsi, must have voted in favour of the new power-sharing model.
The referendum, which went about without any major incidents on Monday, was also reported to have been free and fair. According to the UN's peacekeeping operation in Burundi (ONUB), the poll "conformed to international standards and that there were no incidents marring the credibility of the process." ONUB had sent 45 verification teams totalling some 300 people to the 17 provinces on voting day.
ONUB - set up last May to help cement a multi-party, power-sharing government and pave the way to peace in the tiny Central African nation torn asunder by conflicts between Hutus and Tutsis - provided technical and logistical aid to CENI in holding the vote. In addition to monitor the polls, the UN mission helped CENI transport nearly 130 tons of voting material by air and land for the referendum and contributed to civic education.
Following the successful referendum, the UN mission today congratulated Burundians on their first free poll exercise in decades. "The people of Burundi are to be congratulated for the degree of maturity with which they voted in exemplary fashion - those who voted yes and those who voted no, for that is democracy," UN representative Nureldin Satti told a news briefing today in Bujumbura, the capital.
Mr Satti further said he was optimistic that Burundi has the ability to organise the next several steps in the electoral calendar, leading up to legislative and presidential elections. Those two polls will finalise Burundi's transitional period, which aims at ending decades of ethnic strife and civil war.
When approved, the new constitution foresees that Burundi's President will have a Tutsi Vice-President if he or she is Hutu, and a Hutu Vice-President if he or she is Tutsi. Also the reformed police and armed forces of the country will be constituted by equally large groups of Hutus and Tutsis.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.