With more than two years may delay the Congolese coming Sunday to the polls. They choose not only a new president but also a new national parliament and a new provincial council. The vote is done with the South Korean voting machines, but there is little trust that the voting fair election results. Also other conditions for a fair conduct of the elections seem to be not exactly fulfilled. There is concern for post-electoral violence.
The presidential election hijack all the attention away, because for the first time since independence from Belgium in 1960 to a democratic change of power must lead.
As is well known, Kabila is not re-candidate: he has two deadlines attached. That second deadline expired at the end of 2016, and the camp-Kabila did in the past few years to the elections on the long path to slide. The past few months is that a lot, and seems to be the party at any cost to the elections to want to go, without wondering whether all the logistical and organisational issues resolved.
Just as in 2011, there is now no second round for the presidential elections. So is the candidate with the most votes is the new president, even if not a majority. According to the opposition makes the regime easier candidate will be elected to get.
According to the independent electoral commission Céni have just about 40 million Congolese themselves as a voter registered. The Francophonie carried out an audit to the electoral roll, and it was found that 7 million of the names on those lists, no fingerprint is associated. Observers fear that the door would be wide open for fraud, but the electoral commission had no ears to that objection.
The voters will soon be able to visit some of the 75,000 polling stations. More than 100,000 voting machines were spread over the whole country, though there are a lot of questions about how it works in practice will work in some remote areas, or for Congolese men and women who never had a computer or used. The machines were built by the South Korean Miru Systems, but the South Korean embassy in Kinshasa had warned previously for the manufacturer. That was grist to the mill of the opposition, that this is a new argument saw against this “valsspeelmachines”. Eventually she joined with great reluctance, however, because they are in a true boycott of the elections, anyway, will lose.
European and American observers have been refused by the authorities, with the argument that the Congo is a sovereign country and therefore does not have the public eye need. The African Union and other African regional organisations to send together about 200 observers. In addition, the Congolese bishops to 40,000 Congolese trained observer. They have, as witnesses of the different parties, to see whether the elections are indeed fair. Was also denied by Kinshasa: financial support from abroad. The cost of this vote is on the 500 million dollar estimated, or 10 pct of the Congolese budget.
In addition to a twenty candidate-presidents, there are also more than 15,000 candidates of the 500 seats in the national parliament aspire to, and for the 715 seats in the 26 provincieraden there are nearly 20,000 candidates. The last elections for the provincieraden were held in 2006. Since then, the 11 provinces are divided into 26 new provinces. The representatives in that provincieraden were appointed, and not elected.
If all the coming days and weeks unfold according to the Céni-schedule, on 9 January the final results of the presidential election announced. The new president is on January 12, ingezworen. It is, however, not sure if everything is so lubricated will run. Apart from the logistical and organisational problems, came in the last few weeks various rebel groups, especially in the east, above water again. Still in the east rages the heaviest ebola epidemic that Congo has ever known. There are been at least 300 deaths, and certainly the 500 people got the virus.
How the street will react to an election that is unfair were, is to wait and see. If the people in the street attracts, should be feared for a bloody repression by the authorities. The campaign started calm, but the last days the pressure increases. In the camp of Fayulu fell, while some dead. The international community showed itself in a joint press release worried about that pre-electoral violence, and human rights organisation Human Rights Watch pointed to the severe repression of the past few days
In addition, there was a fire in a warehouse of the electoral commission in Kinshasa. It became, according to the Céni, 80 percent of the machines destined for the capital city burned, but the elections can continue. Observers fear, however, that this pretext will be used for the elections to be postponed.
The party of outgoing president Joseph Kabila appointed Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as its candidate, and that it will have to compete against twenty other candidates. The most important are Martin Fayulu, which is supported by the heavyweights Moïse Katumbi and former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, and the joint candidacy of Felix Tshisekedi and Vital Kamerhe. That first one, son of the beginning of 2017 in Brussels died, opposition leader Etienne, is a candidate for president, the second is a candidate for prime minister.