AFRICA/DR CONGO - One must overcome the ambiguity of the New Year’s Eve Agreement

Friday, 13 January 2017 politics   elections  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The agreement on New Year's Eve to get the Democratic Republic of Congo out of the political crisis for the lost presidential elections (see Fides 03/01/2017), has positive aspects but also presents ambiguous aspects that are highlighted in a report sent to Agenzia Fides by the Peace Network for Congo.
"The agreement provides for the simultaneous organization (on the same day) of the presidential, national and provincial legislative elections. An operation of three elections in one day, to be organized in less than 12 months, in a vast Country, with little infrastructure and logistical means, seems an operation destined to unfold in complete confusion, facilitating the risk of irregularities and electoral fraud", the report said. According to some observers, by November - December 2017 it would only be possible to organize the presidential and national legislative elections. If one wants to organize three elections simultaneously, on the same day, it will be necessary to wait maybe 2018.
In addition, according to the agreement, the post of prime minister is entitled to the Opposition Grouping. According to the negotiations currently in progress, the future Prime Minister would almost certainly be a member of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS). At the same time, the Presidency of the National Council for monitoring the implementation of the agreement and electoral process would be reserved to the President of the Committee of Wise Men of the same Grouping Opposition, Etienne Tshisekedi, as well as President of UDPS.
An inevitable conflict of interests seems obvious, since two people, members of the same political Grouping and the same political party would carry out two roles in itself antithetical in the new institutions: that of controller (the President of the National Council of monitoring) and that of the controlled (Prime Minister of the new Government of national Unity). "This conflict of interest would become even more outrageous if the Opposition Grouping presented Felix Tshisekedi, Etienne Tshisekedi’s son, as a candidate for Prime Minister". To avoid such conflict of interests, it would be desirable to have a better distribution of responsibilities", the report concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 13/01/2017)