Three main allegations made against the Movement for Democracy and Solidarity-MSD party are the violation of the Burundi Constitution, breaking the rules of political parties and a plan to form an armed group to fight against the government. Following these accusations, Pascal Barandagiye, Minister of Home Affairs decided on 4 April to suspend the activities and close all MSD party’s offices for six months.
Térence Ntahiraja, Assistant to and Spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs, says the decision will oblige the political parties to work in the strict respect of the rules and laws of the political parties in Burundi. “The lack of punishment has made some political parties be characterized by indiscipline. We don’t need to see the 2020 Elections to be disturbed by some political parties”, he says.
In March 2014, MSD party was also suspended for two months due to unrest sparked off at its headquarters in the capital Bujumbura. Ntahiraja also says there are young troublemakers claiming to be members of the MSD party who gave themselves up to the police. “All of these motives are sufficient to impose such sanctions”, he says.
The Assistant to the Home Affairs Ministry says the sanctions will end when the MSD party asks for pardon. “We will file the case to court which should lead to a complete suspension”, he says.
Epitace Nshimirimana, Spokesperson for MSD party, says they are not surprised by the decision. “We were aware that the Ministry of Home Affairs was planning to suspend completely our political party and divide its members”, he says.
Nshimirimana says nothing should go beyond the detention and forcing their members to flee the country rather than suspending the party and closing its offices. “We are accused of fighting the current government but we could not close our eyes in front of the human rights violations”, he says.
Nshimirimana calls on other members to be stronger and determined to fight for democracy and solidarity in Burundi.