Student representatives appointed after failed poll

Some students at Burundi University believe the rector has a ‘hidden agenda’ after he appointed student representatives to university committees following failed student elections.

The rector published the list of students he appointed to the various committees two weeks after the elections were cancelled, reported Radio France Internationale or RFI.

The elections took place in early April but were cancelled when some youths ordered closure of the voting office and an early start to the count.

When those in charge of the elections resisted, fighting broke out. Several student witnesses said security officers did nothing to prevent the fighting, reported RFI.

Rector Gaspard Banyankimbona maintained that the temporary student team he had named would organise new elections. But some students believed he had a ‘hidden agenda’ and there would be no new elections.

They pointed out that the most important committee places had been given to supporters of the ruling party. But students did not see how they could protest, explaining that it was difficult to make demands or complaints at present in Burundi, said RFI.

Deutsche Welle broadcast statements from students condemning infiltration at the university by members of Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the presidential CNDD-FDD party.

As reported recently in The Observer and The Guardian of London, Burundi has been in a state of humanitarian crisis for the past year, since protests and violence broke out after President Pierre Nkurunziza acted unconstitutionally by announcing in April 2015 he was standing for a third term, which he won in the July election.

Hundreds have died, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled to neighbouring countries.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.