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'Electoral process badly underway', DRC civil society platform warns

'Electoral process badly underway', DRC civil society platform warns
Congolese participate in a mock voting in the Eastern Congolese town of Beni Sunday Dec. 30, 2018.   -  
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Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2018 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Congolese citizens' movements said Tuesday (Jan. 24) in Kinshasa that the electoral process for the December 20 presidential election was "very badly underway," saying they feared fraud and a "denial of democracy."

The identification and "enrolment" operations of voters began on December 24 in ten of the 26 Congolese provinces.

Since then, only 37% of those expected have been able to register, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), which has extended by 25 days the operation that was supposed to end on Monday (Jan. 23) in these regions.

These operations should take place by mid-March throughout the country, as well as for Congolese in the diaspora.

The electoral process "is very badly underway," said organizations gathered in a platform called "Vigilance citoyenne électorale" (Vigiciel).

"The INEC has deliberately mortgaged the quality of voter registration (...), the scene of electoral chaos is being set up," said Hervé Diakese, coordinator of the platform.

"Everything is happening as if they wanted to impose on our people an unacceptable blackmail: either disastrous elections within the constitutional timeframe, or credible elections but will be postponed indefinitely. ," he added.

Congolese voters living abroad

To limit the risk of fraud, according to her, the Vigiciel platform has called on five countries (France, Belgium, South Africa, the United States and Canada) to make public the number of DRC nationals residing on their territories and to be registered on the electoral rolls.

This will allow "to avoid disparities between the exact number of resident Congolese and enrolments with astronomical figures that could be presented," said Diakese. "Not to do so is to be complicit in voter registration fraud and the denial of democracy," he added.

In the DRC, the presidential election is a single-round election, coupled with legislative elections as well as elections for provincial deputies and communal councilors. President Felix Tshisekedi, in power since January 2019, intends to run again.

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