Burundi orders 'voluntary' tax to fund fresh elections

2017-12-12 18:32

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nairobi - Burundi's government has launched a fundraising drive for elections in 2020, presented as "voluntary" but condemned by rights groups as "organised robbery".

Western electoral aid was cut in 2015, when Burundi was plunged into crisis as President Pierre Nkurunziza sought - and went on to win - a controversial third term.

Between 500 and 2 000 people are estimated to have died in the ensuing turmoil, according to varying tolls.

The government launched on Monday the contribution campaign for the next round of polls, calling on people "fulfil this highly patriotic duty".

The government adopted a plan in October to revise the constitution that, if voted in by a referendum slated for early 2018, would allow Nkurunziza to serve another two seven-year terms from 2020.

The crisis has pushed ordinary Burundians deep into poverty, but the government was confident people would find the cash.

"We are convinced that everyone will contribute," Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye said.

"If, by chance, there is someone who wants to make an exception, he can express it officially in writing," he added.

The government suggested payments range from half a dollar for high school students, around double that for farmers, to monthly deductions from wage packets of civil servants.

For those in the private sector, the interior ministry will compile contributor lists from payment receipts.

But Gabriel Rufyiri, head of the anti-corruption board OLUCOME, who has been forced into exile by the crisis, said such fundraising orders are only constitutional for natural disasters.

"This is organised robbery," he said. "Contrary to what the government says, this contribution will be mandatory."

Ordinary people will have to show payment receipts or face the ruling party's ferocious Imbonerakure youth wing, branded a militia by the UN - and be blocked from accessing government services.

"They must pay, always pay more," an activist inside Burundi said, speaking on condition of anonymity, describing the pervasive fear. "They are under the constant pressure of the Imbonerakure and the government."

Read more on:    un  |  burundi  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.