Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Elections in the Congo: Are We Headed For An Unmitigated Disaster

One thing that is clear regarding the November 28th elections in the Congo, is that the country is not prepared to hold the election on this date. Local and International NGOs have issued reports regarding the need to delay the elections so that they can be better organized. As late as a few days before the elections, word is still seeping out that the elections may be delayed or be spread over two days instead of one, however, the President of the Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) remains resolute that there will be no delay and the elections will take place without a hitch on Monday, November 28th.

In spite of the logisitical nightmare that awaits Congolese voters on Monday, the most volatile charges have been made by the opposition political parties. They claim that the CENI has
instituted a lot of fictional polling stations. They claim that polling stations have been placed on the map in places that do not exist and in some cases have been even placed in the offices of political parties, should one go by the electoral maps published by the CENI. The opposition has demanded from the outset an audit of the polling stations. Although CENI has published an electoral map, an audit has not been done and it is too late to do so. Nonetheless, Radio Okapi, the United Nations funded radio station took it upon itself to investiagte some of the fictional polling stations that the oppositon parties have accused the CENI of having produced.

Based on a limited investigation, Radio Okapi has confirmed the nonexistence of several polling stations, 107 fictitious polling stations just in one commune (Selembao) of Kinshasa, which has 24 communes. Radio Okapi also discovered that a number of the addresses published on the CENI's map does not exist at all. In some instances, the locations listed on the CENI electoral map are inaccessible and in other centers the electoral lists are missing.

Much can be said about the upcoming elections but one thing is certain, all the ingredients are in place for a grand mess. One only hopes that the contestations that are certain to come do not descend into all out violence.

Click here to learn more about the elections!


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