Burundi's main opposition party, the National Council for Freedom (CNL), has seen its activities suspended by the Interior Ministry due to " irregularities" during its last two congresses, it has been reported. learned in a letter made public on Tuesday.
The party leadership denounced to AFP "a serious violation of the Constitution" and "an attempt to destabilize and weaken the CNL" in this country in the Great Lakes region regularly singled out for rights violations . humans .
This decision follows two congresses - one ordinary on March 12 and the other extraordinary on April 30 - aimed at providing the party with new statutes and internal regulations in accordance with the new administrative division of the country, which will be effective in 2025.
These meetings also saw eight executives opposed to the president of the CNL, Agathon Rwasa , ousted from the political office.
The latter had lodged a complaint with the Minister of the Interior, Municipal Development and Public Security, Martin Niteretse , who had challenged the decisions taken during these congresses at the end of May.
In a letter addressed to Agathon Rwasa dated June 2 and made public on Tuesday, the minister mentions "irregularities" in relation to the statutes of the CNL, which provide in particular for the holding of a meeting of the political bureau before any congress.
"All the activities organized by the bodies irregularly set up are suspended throughout the country" , he concludes, specifying that "only meetings organized with the aim of defusing tensions within the party are authorized" .
The secretary general of the CNL, Simon Bizimungu , denounced to AFP "a serious violation of the Constitution and of the law on political parties which prohibits (...) any interference by public authorities in the functioning of parties" .
"It is an attempt to destabilize and weaken the CNL in view of the legislative elections of 2025" , he said: "There is no tension or dispute within the CNL. C It's just a small group of eight protesting people who have no weight except the support of the public authorities" .
Main opposition to the CNDD-FDD, the party in power since 2005, the CNL was created in 2011 by Agathon Rwasa after dissension within the FNL, a party from the former Hutu rebellion of the National Liberation Forces .
Presidential candidate of 2020, Mr. Rwasa had described as an "electoral charade" the victory of Evariste Ndayishimiye , who succeeded Pierre Nkurunziza , who died after having led Burundi with an iron fist for 15 years.
Since his accession to power, President Ndayishimiye has oscillated between signs of openness of the regime, which remains under the influence of powerful "generals" , and firm control of power marked by human rights violations denounced by NGOs and the UN. .
In March, the UN High Commissioner deplored "increasing repression" of critical voices in Burundi.