Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has launched a referendum campaign to prolong his stay in power until 2034, news agency AFP reports.
The push is aimed at adopting a draft constitution that would allow him to serve another two seven-year terms from 2020.
He told supporters on Tuesday at the central Gitenga village that those who oppose his bid “by speech or action” would cross “the red line”.
The campaign comes after the government launched a funds drive for the 2020 elections.
AFP reports that the move, which the government says is voluntary, has been condemned by rights groups as “organised robbery”.
Opposition figures in exile say the referendum will be the “funeral” of the country’s 2000 peace agreement that ended a 13-year civil war in which more than 300,000 people were killed, AFP added.
Burundi plunged into crisis in 2015 when President Nkurunziza refused to step down after his term ended.
The crisis has resulted in violent attacks which have seen an estimated 2,000 people killed and thousands displaced to neighbouring countries.
Talks between the government and opposition groups collapsed last week.
Former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who is facilitating the talks, said there was “no agreement, no declaration and no binding document”.