Mennonite Central Committee joins efforts to minimize election violence in Burundi

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) reports that together with partners it has formed the Quaker Peace Network (QPN). The Network's 200 election observers will work at polling stations during Burundi's election.

The group recruited and trained more than 200 election observers to work at polling stations on the election days.

"Burundi’s election season started in late May and will continue through September, with at least five elections scheduled during those months. These elections are the first since all rebel groups laid down their weapons in 2008, officially ending the country’s 15-year civil war," writes Chad Umble in a July 9, 2010, MCC release.

Despite 6 killings and 50 wounded leading up to a June 28 election, the release said "... monitors reported a relatively peaceful election in which incumbent Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected with a 77 percent voter turnout."

QPN has joined Amatora mu Mahora (Elections in Peace), an ecumenical network that recruited and trained election-period monitors. "Taking a broader view of election monitoring, Amatora’s monitors map any incidents of violence and note positive signs of peace," the release said.

Burundi is reportedly one of the 10 poorest nations in the world and desperately needs a sustainable peace, so it can concentrate on progress in education, health care, agriculture and development of infrastructure.