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DRC 2023 ELECTION: Opposition Candidates In Congo Elections Speak Out Against Lack Of Transparency In Ongoing Electoral Process

With less than two months before the DRC goes to polls to elect its president, opposition candidates in the 2023 General Elections have expressed their concern over the lack of transparency in the ongoing electoral process.

In a joint-statement signed by seven opposition candidates including popular figures MoĂŻse Katumbi, Martin Fayulu, Delly Sesanga and Dr. Denis Mukwenge, the electoral commission, CENI, has been brought to the light of several anomalies affecting the holding of a free, transparent, fair and credible.

Other opposition candidates that are part of the statement include the youthful Seth Kikuni, Franck Diongo as well as Marie Josée Ifoku.

The opposition candidates have complained over CENI’s lack of transparency and proficiency in its operations especially in relation to the voter register and provision of a complete map out of polling stations as well as the body’s non-adherence to the electoral schedule.

From left to right: Dr. Mukwege, Martin Fayulu & Moise Katumbi

“The country is in bad shape and the current electoral process is characterized by a deliberate lack of transparency. The vagueness maintained by the CENI on the financial, logistical and organizational aspects of the process portends chaotic elections,” the statement reads.

“This is why we, candidates for the presidential election after evaluation, note the following. The holding of good elections in December 2023 remains, more than ever, a major challenge for peace and social cohesion.

“Since the start of the electoral process, the CENI has taken more and more liberties with the law and the electoral calendar. It also condoned numerous irregularities which seriously compromised national harmony and civil peace in the country.

“The lack of transparency in the conduct of its operations is coupled with opacity in the financing process and in the management of CENI’s finances, which is characterized by the generalization of over-the-counter markets,” the statement reads.

The opposition leaders contend that “after so much lightness and artistic vagueness which characterized all the pre-electoral operations (in particular the registration, the poor quality of voter’s cards, the refusal of an independent audit, the non-publication of the voters’ lists and the mapping completeness of polling stations, non-compliance with the electoral calendar, etc.) which took place without any consensus,” is a recipe for anarchy.

They argue that it is necessary that a few days before the electoral campaign starts on November 19, urgent measures be taken to save the electoral process.

Meanwhile, the presidential bidders are also calling the electoral commission to resolve the issue of defective voter’s cards that were issued to citizens who stand the risk of failing to exercise their right to vote due to the authorities’ incompetencies.

“It’s of great importance to resolve the issue of duplicate cards that have become illegible due to their poor quality, mainly due to the CENI procurement process. No Congolese should be deprived of their right to vote because the CENI is incapable of producing voter’s cards in good condition,” they stated.

CENI were also reminded of their violations of the Congolese electoral law by going ahead with publication of provincial voter lists while sitting government officials, also bidding for election, have made public political campaign statements to disadvantage the opposition.

“By its press release no. 050/CENI/2023 of October 5, 2023, in violation of articles 6 and 8 of the electoral law, the CENI resumed the display of voter lists. Meanwhile, in defiance of the most basic rules of electoral justice, provincial governors and political actors of the regime are poisoning the political climate with declarations and the adoption of arbitrator measures. The cases of the governor of central Kasai who addressed the populations by using them to not tolerate the campaign of any candidate other than that of the outgoing president and that of the governor of Kinshasa threatens advertising agencies who would like to offer their services to displays opposition candidates is one classic example,” they explained.

The DRC goes to the polls on the 20th of December 2023 to elect its 6th president with 25 candidates including incumbent Fèlix Tshisekedi, in the race.

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