Burundi's Presidential Elections Surrounded By Violence And Corruption Burundi, already in the midst of any and all forms of chaos and instability to the highest degree, has opened voting booths for a presidential election that is, safe to say, controversial.

By Kareem Chehayeb

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


What a year it has been for the small, landlocked African country. Burundi, already in the midst of any and all forms of chaos and instability to the highest degree, has opened voting booths for a presidential election that is, safe to say, controversial. A man who some may recall for banning jogging back in March 2014, current President Pierre Nkurunziza is now enjoying his third term as the head of the state after garnering almost 70% of the votes, and it hasn't been received well by many Burundians. A third team means five more years for Nkurunziza, but there's a bigger problem: it's unconstitutional. After Burundi's bloody 12-year civil war ended in 2005, a two-term limit was imposed on future presidents. That being said, the government still believes that the elections were valid; they claim that Nkurunziza is eligible because his first term wasn't granted through popular elections. After the civil war ended, he was first elected unopposed in 2005 by Burundi's MPs.

When Nkurunziza announced his interest in a third term, many took to the street. That said, protests were met with brutal response: at least 100 have been confirmed dead, and around 170,000 have fled the country, 80,000 of them to Tanzania. That didn't put a halt President Nkurunziza's ambitions, and neither did a failed coup while he was abroad last May. In fact, when he returned, he was even more adamant about his candidacy, claiming he is Burundi's only hope for some stability. "It's either me or Al-Shabaab," he said, using the Somalia-based Al-Qaeda offshoot's threats to attack Burundi as an anchor to his ultimatum.

Political opposition and civil society organizations chose to boycott the elections, and voter turnout was at a serious low. While voter turnout in rural areas reached up to 80%, Burundi's capital amidst the protests and violence, Bujumbura only had a turnout of a little under 40%, making this the lowest voter turnout in Burundi in three decades. Many analysts see this as problematic, citing the potential for the sporadic violent sparks to develop into another civil war. It also doesn't help that this could impact the aid that Burundi receives from the United States. Secretary John Kerry called the elections "deeply flawed," and it looks like they could be halting some of America's aid to Burundi, including military training for Burundi's troops in the African Union. But larger punitive measures from the United States through halting some of its aid programs can be possible, which could play a role in the civil war scenario many analysts have speculated.

Wavy Line
Kareem Chehayeb

Former Columnist & Online Liaison, Entrepreneur Middle East

Related Topics

Women Entrepreneur™

Having Announced Its 2023 Fellows, Cartier Women's Initiative Is Now Welcoming Applications From Women Impact Entrepreneurs For The 2024 Edition Of The Program

The 2024 edition of the Cartier Women's Initiative is now open for applications, with entries being accepted from Wednesday, May 10, 2023 to Friday, June 30, 2023, with the cut-off time on Friday, June 30 being 6pm Central European Summer Time (CEST).

Thought Leaders

5 Secrets to Success in Business

Business is hard, but if you put in the work and keep a positive mindset you will succeed.

Business Plans

Elements of a Business Plan

There are seven major sections of a business plan, and each one is a complex document. Read this selection from our business plan tutorial to fully understand these components.

Growth Strategies

UAE-Based Jalebi Gets Set To Roll Out Its Pioneering Technology For Restaurants In Saudi Arabia

Jalebi's presence in the Saudi market is expected to help local restaurants to improve their operations and drive growth.


A Step-by-Step Guide To Building Your First Mobile App

If you have the right reasons, follow these 10 recommendations to getting your product to the public.

Business News

TikTok Influencer Reveals She Makes $350,000 a Month on OnlyFans. 'Absolutely Unreal.'

When Tara Lynn promoted her OnlyFans page on TikTok, she saw her income more than double.