AFRICA/DR CONGO - Is the constant insecurity in the east used to sabotage the elections?

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 armed groups   elections  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The persistence of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an armed group originally from Uganda but still active in North Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), raises various concerns", said a note sent to Agenzia Fides by Peace Network for Congo. "Lately – says the note - ADF militiamen carry out even more direct attacks against the positions of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FARDC), and no longer hide their desire to cause direct collision".
In order to explain this change of strategy by the ADF, various civil society organizations in North Kivu advance several hypotheses, including: infiltration in the ranks of the ADF, the former combatants of the March 23 Movement (M23), who fled in Uganda and Rwanda after their defeat in 2013; the support of army troops from Uganda and Rwanda, two neighboring Countries already used to creating and to supporting the so-called "rebel movements" in eastern DRC; the collaboration of certain internal armed groups and, finally, the complicity of some commanders of the FARDC themselves.
In fact, Ugandan rebels could not, by themselves, undertake hostilities against Congolese troops better equipped in arms and ammunition and better deployed on the territory.
Recalling that in 2016 presidential and legislative national elections are to be held, the note points out that "these elections are so sensitive that, already a year before the event, there is a harsh confrontation between the political forces seeking to keep power and those who want to conquer it".
"When analyzing the causes of the block of the electoral process, we note that the two sides accuse each other of not wanting to go to the polls. At the same time, and on the eve of the famous election year, insecurity in North Kivu, South Kivu and Ituri, is increasing", said the Peace Network for Congo. "With the ADF, and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), it may become impossible to undertake any pre-electoral operation (voter registration, training of electoral agents, location of polling stations, etc.)".
"The persistent insecurity in the east of the Country could therefore be used as a means to sabotage the upcoming elections, by those who, under democratic appearances, are fighting to maintain or gain power", the statement concludes. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 12/01/2016)