Burundi Refugees Influx in Tanzania Cause Humanitarian Crisis In Nyarugusu Camp

Thousands of Burundian Refugees flee and influx Nyarugusu Refugee Camp in Tanzania

Key Highlights:

  • Vote counting in Burundi underway and expected to wrap up on Thursday July 23rd, 2015
  • Incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza predicted to be reelected
  • Over 150,00 thousand Burundians flee the country with majority in Tanzania
  • Elections marred with irregularities and condemned by international community despite a reported 74% turnout announced by the Electoral commission
  • Election period characterized by protests, deaths and threat of an armed rebellion emergence


On July 21st, 2015, Over 3.8 million registered voters of Burundi’s populace took to the polls to elect a president in highly controversial election.

The Electoral Commission president Pierre-Claver Ndayicariye announced a 74% voter turnout despite a highly publicized boycott of the presidential polls by the opposition. Southwestern Bururi Province and Bujumbura recorded the lowest turnout seeing as the latter is the epicenter of the months-long protest and pre-election blasts.

Some of the election irregularities reported by the observers include:

  • Blank tally sheets being signed before the official tally
  • Election officials stuffing ballot boxes
  • Campaigns at the polling stations
  • Voter intimidation characterized by voters scrubbing off indelible ink to avoid revenge by opposition

The ballot papers had 8 presidential candidates although most of them had withdrawn from the race. The eight names on the ballot paper has been viewed as a façade of pluralism being exhibited in an election with one contender. The main contenders being:

  • 51-year-old rebel turned president, football fanatic and born again Pierre Nkurunziza
  • Agathon Rwasa- leader of the National Liberation Forces, former militia leader during the civil war turned politician


The international actors and observers have labeled the election as illegitimates they lack transparency and minimum requirements of inclusiveness.

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The international community has threatening to evaluate their association with Burundi lead by the East African Community who called for a six-week delay to allow for dialogue for the two factions.

The crisis in Burundi directly or indirectly threatens the stability of the region with a history of ethnic conflict.

The Crisis has created at least 150,000 refugees with over 50% streaming into one of the largest refugee camp in the world, Nyarugusu Camp in Tanzania. This has created a humanitarian crisis in a camp that housed over 60,000 refugees from the war-struck central Africa countries.

According to Doctors Without Borders, the infrastructure at the camp cannot accommodate the huge number of refugees who are in bad shape that are arriving. This could translate to an increased number of deaths indirectly caused by the crisis in Burundi especially through fatigue and communicable diseases.

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