DRC: Arrest of rogue observers who want to take the place of CENI in proclaiming the results

The Congolese government denounced on Tuesday, December 19, the intrusion of individuals claiming to be observers in the electoral process, raising concerns about the proper conduct of the election.

According to statements made by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Security, and Customary Affairs, Peter Kazadi Kankonde, during a press conference, some political offices are preparing to contest the results expected by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Thus, five foreign nationals were apprehended by Congolese security services.

Although their nationalities were not disclosed, these individuals reportedly stated, according to a police report, that there are currently 50 observers in the DRC equipped with the same type of communication equipment that was banned for use by European Union (EU) observers.

For context, the EU had canceled its initial election mission due to delays in obtaining the necessary authorizations for the use of communication tools, such as satellite phones and internet kits.

On Tuesday, the Deputy Prime Minister specifically pointed the finger at an election observation mission, without explicitly naming it: « These individuals work with a structure that makes a lot of noise. This structure is funded to the tune of millions to accomplish this task. It seeks to replace the CENI», said Peter Kazadi Kankonde, before adding: «They have set up their result compilation centers, hired a large number of staff, and have satellite-connected technologies (…) This is not new; it happens in other countries in Africa. They seek to manipulate the results and attribute them to a candidate of their choice».

Recall that Jean-Pierre Bemba, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of Defense, who had made a similar statement, directly accused Moïse Katumbi, stating: «He knows he will lose the elections, but he will manufacture results that he will have published. If he does not succeed, they will try to set the country on fire. We will not let him destroy this country for his mafia ambitions. We will use the public force to restore order»

Congolese citizens are called to the polls on Wednesday, December 20. Hopefully, things will go smoothly despite the tension at various levels so that the population does not bear the brunt of the power struggle between the ruling party and the opposition.

Jean-Robert TCHANDY


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