BUJUMBURA August 12th (ABP) – The Head of State, Evariste Ndayishimiye, has just, by presidential decree, established the way of elections of the council of notables of the village. According to that decree, the council of village notables will be elected by the village assembly made up of village or neighborhood inhabitants of voting age and will be conducted by direct and secret universal suffrage.
The council of the village notables will be composed of 15 village members. To be a candidate for the election of the council of the village notables, be of Burundian, be at least 35 years old, have a sense of truth and justice, have a sense of honor and of responsibility, have a high sense of empathy, be of good character and not have been the subject of a conviction that tarnishes the confidence of the people, have a sense of impartiality and neutrality and have a sense of community good and abandonment of personal gain.
No one can be a candidate for a mandate of the council of the village notables if he has not effectively resided in the village or the neighborhood concerned for at least five years. The declarations of candidacy for the ballot are received by the village leader or neighborhood at least seven days before the ballot.
On polling day an electoral commission is set up by the village assembly. It is made up of three people known for their integrity and dedication but who are not candidates for the vote. That commission ensures the smooth running of the ballot, assesses the validity of the votes and announces the results.
The vote takes place in the village or the district concerned at a place chosen by the village leader. The counting of votes as well as the proclamation of the results of the vote are made without delay by the electoral commission mentioned above. At the end of the ballot, the first fifteen candidates having obtained the large number of votes are declared elected. In the event of a tie, the oldest candidate is declared elected.
As a reminder, the Minister of Justice declared to parliament during the presentation of the reasons that to resolve disputes arising from social relations, each people has been able to develop appropriate mechanisms for settling misunderstandings according to its traditions.
She recalled that the council of notables of the village had been instituted by law number 1/004 of January 14, 1987 in order to promote reconciliation more than the strict application of a rule of law. By law number 1/08 of March 17, 2005 on the code of organization and judicial competence, the conciliation procedure by the council of notables of the hill was abandoned, mainly because of the deficit of its organization which hampered the easy access to that traditional and alternative method of conflict resolution, she said.
Three decades later, the Minister had indicated, the need to return to that traditional institution based essentially on the conciliation of the parties in conflict is felt more acutely, in particular because of the importance of the volume of disputes experienced by the courts and high court, the cost and length of court proceedings as well as geographic distance.