By Landry Ninteretse
Burundi is preparing to hold its second general elections after conflict. There is a lot of excitement on the ground but also fear as intimidation and violence have been reported these last months throughout the country. Population is also wondering if the elected leaders will be able to address properly huge challenges affecting them including safety, unemployment, hunger, access to basic services, corruption etc.
After three years of existence, AYC felt that time has come to be proactive and get mobilized for fair, transparent and non violent elections. For the last months, AYC has been organizing debates called “study circle” where members and other youth discuss about matters of concern of our society and find out what can be done at different levels to address them.
For the upcoming elections, AYC with the support of Peace Direct, a British organization supporting local peacebuilders in conflict areas throughout the world, is mobilizing students and youth working in informal sector through workshops, debates and parade to raise their awareness on the behavior to develop in the electoral period and the importance to make a good choice during the vote.
We expect from these actions a great commitment of the participants to endorse the code of responsible behavior for free, fair, transparent and non-violent elections, to act responsibly during the whole electoral period and to adopt a positive and tolerant attitude during elections. We also want them to pass on this message of peace, tolerance, and vigilance against political manipulation to their respective community members.
2010 is a crucial year for the consolidation of our fragile peace. It’s also a period to build vibrant but tolerant democracy in Burundi. Together, as one determined generation, we can achieve it.