Thursday, January 03, 2019

DRC elections : The Catholic Church has the regime of Kinshasa over a barrel

The Congolese people, who are growing suspicious of the maneuvers of the Independent National Electoral Commission CENI in acronym, were awaiting the results of the elections of December 30, 2018 when the Congolese government shut down the internet across the country. For the majority of the population, this move confirms the bad intentions of the government in complicity with the CENI. On the same day, while the DRC government was cutting the country’s internet services, the Secretary General and spokesperson of CENCO (Catholic  Bishops Conference), Fr Donatien Nshole, intervened  to make a partial presentation of the electoral process throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Nshole announced that they received 17,023 reports on voting operations, meaning informations of 78, 22% voting centers throughout the Republic.

Through its reports the CENCO declares that the general climate of the voting process was relatively calm.  In several polling stations the CENI respected the closure of polling station procedure. The CENI relaunched voting operations where the vote was interrupted. Polling stations, it says, worked relatively well.

The voting operations were interrupted due to:

- Malfunction of the voting machine. Therefore some voters could not vote;
- In some polling stations there was no  ballots counting;
- Observers and witnesses have been excluded from certain counting centers.

The General-Secretariat of CENCO says that it remains in constant contact with the CENI and all stakeholders in order to find solutions to the mentioned incidents.

In the room « Marie reine de la paix », the abbot went on to presenting the counting report. He quoted 3,496 reports which attest that:

- the Presidents of the polling stations opened the ballot box in front of the witnesses and the observers;

- 1,181 reports show that the counting process started between 5 pm and 6 pm, while 2,990 reports indicate that the counting started at 7 pm;

- 3,626 reports show that the number of ballot papers in the ballot box was equal to the electronic count;

- 1.959 reports indicate that the report on the sorting process, the results sheet of the voting machine and the results sheet of the manual count were signed by all the members of the counting center, the witnesses who were present and the 5 designated voters ;

- 2,574 reports indicate that the minutes of the polling operations, the report on the sorting process, the results sheet of the voting machine and the manual counting sheet were given to the witnesses who were present;

- 2,839 reports attest that the polling results sheet was displayed at the end of the count, but 342 attest that the voting results sheet has not yet been displayed.

I THINK THAT THERE IS A SENTENCE MISSING HERE TO INTRODUCE THIS QUOTE BOTH IN FRENCH AND IN ENGLISH !  (Suggestion : Addressing the nation, the government, the political parties and those who attended his press conference ,the Secretary General of CENCO, Donation Nshole, went on by saying:)

"The General Secretariat of CENCO asks the Congolese people to remain calm while waiting for the results to ensure the credibility of the results.

The General Secretariat of CENCO asks the CENI to pursue any action ensuring the process transparency, the display of the manual counting results at the polling stations, the identification of the Local Compilation Centers of the CLCR Results, and to provide observers access to these centers.
The General Secretariat of CENCO congratulates the government for ensuring the smooth functioning of the Internet.  I am sorry to learn just before entering the room that the internet was cut. Unfortunately the message was already signed, thank you!

During the Mass of the first day of the year, the Catholic Church of the Democratic Republic of Congo preached about the birth of Jesus Christ, referring to the book of Luke chapter 2, verse 18 to 24.  The homily delivered at the end of the Mass referred to the current situation with regard to the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and underscored the need for vigilance.

The position of the Catholic Church puts the regime of Kinshasa in a very difficult and uncomfortable situation. On one hand CENCO holds the credible results of the elections and on the other hand it calls to civil mobilization through the idea of vigilance. We all know that the Catholic church, through its Lay Committee ( CLC- Lay Coordination Committee), is the biggest and the strongest mobilizing force in DRC. They are the ones, following three marches of protest in 2017 and 2018, who managed to obtain of the regime in Kinshasa to organize the elections of December 30, 2018.

The Catholic Church has the regime of Kinshasa over a barrel!

Jean-Marie Kalonji
Quatrieme Voie


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