Presidential Elections in the DRC: Chaos, Confusion, Discontent in the Face of an Outright Fraudulent Process

On Wednesday, the first findings of Congo’s National Episcopal Conference (Senko) were clear. A third of the 75,000 polling stations could not accommodate a single voter across the entire national territory on Wednesday. Of the 50,000 polling stations that were open, 45% of the machines were found to allow visitors stopped by the Catholic Church and the Protestant Church (while they were able to do their work, ten percent of the stations forbade the presence of these visitors) to vote. Experiencing technical difficulties. Evidence collected in various provinces shows that some of these concerns are significantly linked to the lack of electricity to power the voting machines. Cheney had planned generators, but according to these testimonies, many groups lacked the fuel necessary for their proper operation. This led to surreal scenes – voters who were often very poor but determined to exercise their right to vote – banded together to buy a few liters of petrol to keep the machines running. “CENI swallowed over a billion dollars to organize these elections, but what did it do with this money?”, asks Mami, 45, a voter in Kwilu in the west of the country. “This money is not used for CENI agents, many of whom are struggling without salary.She continues.

In DRC, predicted election chaos comes true: “A vote costs 1.5 dollars at my polling station”

The figures are already controversial

Polling stations, which welcomed voters but generally faced these technical issues, opened their doors past 5pm, when voting was initially scheduled to close. A few pictures of offices lit by flashlights and pictures of office managers with headlamps have circulated on the internet. This Thursday, following a one-day extension decreed by Denis Kadima, Congolese who were unable to vote the previous day returned to the polling stations. But despite this extension, not all problems have been solved.

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Despite this general defeat, the first results, as provided for by the Congolese electoral law, began to show in polling stations this Thursday, polling station by polling station. But the figures shown at first are not without raising serious questions. In fact, Section 67 of the Election Act requires that the results of manual counting of ballot boxes be shown. However, what can be seen this Thursday is usually electronically obtained statistics. CENI explained the use of this electronic data during the inauguration of its Kinshasa headquarters this Tuesday, ahead of the save time” But if there is a difference between this number and that obtained by manual counting, there will be a “reconciliation” of the results and, as provided by law, the manual counting will prevail. However, in many offices that display these electronically obtained figures, manual counting has not been initiated and apparently, according to the testimonies, it was not planned.

This violation of Section 67 of the Election Act obviously raises all the challenges. “Everyone knows it’s easy to tinker with numbers electronically, which is why we had paper ballots and ballot boxes.”, explains a member of Moïse Katumbi’s Ensemble pour la République party. So far, the statistics “generated” in this way – unsurprisingly – give the presidential candidate a huge advantage.

Results were received electronically only at the polling station in Kinshasa. © DR

A call for mass mobilization

In the opposition party line, since Wednesday evening, five presidential candidates M.M. Both Fayulu and Mugweke strongly criticized the organization of the election and called for a new election to be managed by a new Sen. On the other hand, there is not a single word on the responsibility of the President, although he is the guarantor of the proper functioning of the state and Mr. Full responsibility for appointing Khadima as head of this organization.

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In Moïse Katumbi’s group, we observe the same dysfunctions, but we especially emphasize popular mobilization, the desire to “break” power. “While waiting for the results to be published by the CENI, we call on the Congolese people to remain vigilant, in accordance with Article 64 of the Constitution, to defeat the outgoing power that wants to retain them by force,” explained the press release signed by Moise. Katumbi, Augustine Matada Bonyo, Delhi Sesanga, Frank Diongo and Seth Kiguni.

Big Katanga in focus during presidential election in DRC: “If Tshisekedi wants to cheat, it will be a revolution here”

The FCC, the political platform of lifelong senator and former president Joseph Kabila, has not held back from criticizing the botched election process. It was easy for him to point out that he had decided very early on to boycott this election, as the beginning was a precursor to all the irregularities observed on December 20. A press release that did not fail to provoke its share of reactions, especially among diplomatic posts in Kinshasa. “The FCC’s proud experience, prompting a system of one referendum and three successful election cycles, would bring a smile to the face, if not the end, of the disaster we’re experiencing today. No electoral cycle has ever been successful in the DRC. We will walk away with the advantage that the democratic exercises the FCC has undertaken never caused the disaster we are experiencing today.”, explained a Western diplomat on Thursday. “There is an obvious desire here to spoil the process, disguised behind false amateurism. Everything is deliberately planned.”, continued one of his colleagues.Very worried about the future of the country”.

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On Cheney’s topic, President Kadima never mentioned the chaos of election day, content to note a few scattered defeats, while announcing that the polls would be extended by a day, stressing his determination to allow all Congolese voters to express themselves. their choice. The approach sparked anger and outrage from many voters who waited long hours in front of closed polling stations and prepared to return to the lines Thursday morning. “This gentleman, sitting comfortably and comfortably, violates Article 52 of the Electoral Code to vote on the same day, and does not say a word about the millions of Congolese whose time was wasted by his mistake. , this Thursday, sometimes has to travel miles to vote and can’t work. We are being mocked” A Kinshasa lawyer explains.

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