Next elections in the DRC: “poorly embarked process”, warn researchers

#Other countries : A little over a year from the next elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, researchers are concerned about a “poorly embarked process” and a “deficit of confidence” carrying, according to them, risks of “violent protests” .

«The DRC risks missing the opportunity to put its electoral process in order»write the organizations Congo Study Group (GEC) and Ebuteli, linked to New York University (NYU), in a report entitled «Elections in the era of Tshisekedi – A bad start?»released on Tuesday.

Former opponent, Félix Tshisekedi succeeded Joseph Kabila as head of state in January 2019, after a controversial presidential election in December 2018, during which the Independent National Electoral Commission (Céni) was accused of rigging the results. The next presidential election is supposed to be held at the end of 2023 and Tshisekedi has already expressed his intention to run again.

At 14 months from this deadline, «political interests ended up stifling the momentum of rupture», «distrust of the leaders of the Ceni remains» et «the controversial renewals of the members of the Constitutional Court, the last lock in the electoral process, further reinforce the lack of confidence»say analysts.

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According to them, «political control persists over the institutions involved in the management of the electoral process».

The «trust deficit» towards these institutions, «the exclusive consultation frameworks, the vagueness around the electoral constituencies (…), the lack of transparency in the conduct of certain important operations (…), augur violent protests from socio-political actors»warns Ithiel Batumike, researcher at Ebuteli.

Especially, adds the report, that «the current electoral process seems to have been delayed in starting» and what does it weigh «lhe specter of the slippage of the electoral calendar».

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The country, researchers say, «again finds itself between the risk of organizing botched elections with possible disputed results» and that «eternal political arrangements for the sharing of political responsibilities» to the detriment «the rescue of this poorly embarked electoral process».

«It is the quest for confidence in the electoral process that should be the priority of stakeholders, starting with the Ceni itself.»recommend the researchers, who also ask the government and Parliament to grant the Electoral Commission adequate resources to carry out its mission.

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