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UN chief in DR Congo casts doubt over possibility of November 27 polls

UN chief in DR Congo casts doubt over possibility of November 27 polls

Democratic Republic Of Congo

United Nations mission chief in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Maman Sidikou has said he doubts that polls slated for November 27 would take place.

“I do not see the elections (taking place) on Nov. 27,” he told a news conference in the DRC capital, Kinshasa.

Whiles admitting that if polls do not hold, it could could trigger violent political unrest in an already tense situation, Sidikou said the decision as to when the polls takes place rests with the citizenry. He however called on opposition elements to join a national dialogue that has been called by the incumbent Joseph Kabila but largely boycotted by opposition.

I do not see the elections (taking place) on Nov. 27. It is the Congolese who will decide when the elections will take place.

“It is the Congolese who will decide when the elections will take place,” he said.

Kabila has been in power since 2001, and is constitutionally bound to step down after serving two terms (winning 2006 and 2011 elections), opponents accuse him of deliberately delaying the Nov. 27 poll to cling to power.

Earlier this year, the country’s highest court ruled in May that if the November polls do not hold, Kabila could remain in power until the next election is held.

In March, the U.N. Security Council called on the country to organize elections this year, but the government said logistical and budgetary obstacles made it unrealistic. The election commission has said it needs more than a year to update voter rolls.

The government earlier this month reportedly having contracted Dutch outfit, Gemalto, a world leader in the area of digital security to help the Independent Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENI) with 22,000 mobile biometric voter enrollment kits.

The kits are to support over 18,000 enrollment centers to capture a detailed and updated national voter register through the acquisition of photographs, fingerprints and signatures of citizens as well as issue them personalized voter cards for the upcoming polls.