Elections

 

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Electoral  Observation Mission has lauded the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for its overall peaceful and calm conduct during the elections. 

However, the mission has also voiced concerns about escalating ethnic tensions in certain regions of the country.

Delays, logistical issues, and alleged fraudulent activities saw the DRC presidential and legislative elections extended for another day while some opposition parties called for a re-run.

The Head of SADC Electoral Observation Mission, Enock Kavindele, says, though, that it has been peaceful.

He, however, revealed that the mission identified reports of ethnic tensions and election-related violence in some parts of the country.
 
Security agencies and stakeholders have been urged to carefully manage the situation to ensure peace and stability.

Kavindele, in a preliminary report, highlighted that, although competent, there are concerns about the late appointments of the current Independent National Electoral Commission members, which may have affected its preparation for the elections.

Some voters also struggled to use voting machines, an indication of poor voter education by CENI.

On polling day, only two percent of the observed polling stations opened on time, while 98 percent did not.

This is attributed to the delay in delivering voting materials and the unavailability of presiding officers. 

Most polling stations, the mission says, were accessible to all voters, including persons with disabilities, except for 25 percent of the polling stations due to geographical terrain, preventing access to the polling stations by persons with disabilities.

The mission has advised CENI to extend diaspora voting to more countries and for the DRC to engage in meaningful dialogue to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst ethnic groups, as well as to strengthen voter education in the country to ensure the effective participation of the Congolese electorate in the electoral process.

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Author
Celma Ndhikwa