AFRICA/DEMOCRATIC CONGO - Concern for elections in Democratic Congo scheduled for late June

Friday, 29 April 2005

Kinshasa (Fides Service)- “According to the available information it will be almost impossible for the planned elections to take place on 30 June” a local network “Peace for Congo”, whose members are missionaries and NGOs operating in Congo said in a report sent to Fides.
At the legislative level the country is still waiting for the text of the Constitution of the 3rd Republic, a law on constitutional referendum and an electoral law. It has been announced that the electoral census will start at the end of June. In some parts of the country, mainly the east, people still suffer because of violence by armed groups and foreign militia. The army which with the police should guarantee national security during the election has still to be unified and integrated at the level of troops. What is more, since the troops have not been paid and the money is said to have been embezzled, they continue to harass civilians. Many political leaders want to extend the transition period fearing they will lose elections and the comfortable armchair they occupy.
“In this situation we wonder what will happen on July 1. Some predict masse protests, others speak of a return to the political order of the National Sovereign Council of 1992, with the consequent formation of a new government; other propose the appointment of a prime minister or government co-ordinator; others want to keep to the norms of the present interim constitution, above all article 196 which foresees in view of elections a one-off six month extension of the interim period; others even predict a coup”
Local sources say the people want elections. They want to elect the men who will lead the country. In view of this courses of civic formation have been organised offering information on democracy, parties, profile of candidates, correct method of elections. “Peace for Congo” says an independent electoral Commission must be set up, the army must be paid and political parties must undertake dialogue to allow elections as soon as possible. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 29/4/2005 righe 33 parole 404)