With less than 48 hours before the elections, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2018 General Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, met with three top presidential aspirants and the head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).
Even though the meeting was meant to afford candidates a platform to engage each other, the peace factor was highlighted as the trio held that safeguarding the peace of Congo was paramount.
On their part, CENI – the elections body – pledged to ensure that a transparent process will be delivered throughout to record a free, fair and credible poll.
- The meeting took place on 28th December, 2018. The day that campaigning officially ended.
- Attendees included: Martin Fayulu for the Lamuka coalition.
- Vital Kamerhe, for the Tshisekedi-Kamerhe coalition.
- Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, candidate for the ruling FCC coalition.
- Elections chief Corneille Nangaa represented CENI.
- The main thrust of the meeting was on the state of preparedness for the polls.
- The SEOM is led by Joseph Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Zambia.
As things stand now, three cities have been excluded from the process – Beni, Butembo and Yumbi. Two of them over the Ebola crisis and the latter over insecurity.
Protests to have CENI rescind its decision either via activists, the opposition and Catholic church has so far failed. An estimated 1.2 million people will be affected by the move.
Portions of a statement released by SEOM read as follows:
“In their remarks, the presidential candidates and representatives commended SADC for bringing together CENI and presidential candidates to engage on outstanding electoral matters.
“They all highlighted the need to safeguard the peace throughout the remaining period of the electoral process and put the interest of Congolese people above everything.
“The President of CENI, Mr Nangaa assured the candidates and the SEOM leadership that the elections will be held as scheduled without further delays. Mr Nangaa expressed CENI’s commitment to engage with the political and electoral stakeholders in the final days leading to the elections to ensure that any outstanding issues are addressed in order to have credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.
“In a bid to ensure the transparency of the vote, Mr Nangaa said, all results from the manual count of ballot papers will be displayed at each polling station and that CENI invited all political party witnesses to accompany the envelopes containing ballot papers to the Local Centre for Results Compilation (CRCL).”