-> Transparent management of electoral resources.
There is no transparency whatsoever regarding the way the funds allocated to the Independent national electoral commission (Ceni) are used. This institution, contrary to the provisions of the New Year’s Eve agreement, has never been audited.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) is criticized by all sides for its lack of impartiality and lack of independence. Its management is deemed opaque. The Ceni is also strongly suspected of corruption and embezzlement, as revealed by the Lumumba papers featured in the Belgian daily newspaper Le Soir. Furthermore, the opposition had achieved a commitment to revitalise the electoral institution during the transition to restore trust between stakeholders. Unfortunately, so far only the Congo liberation movement (MLC) has succeeded in replacing its member. The Union for democracy and social progress (UDPS) is still awaiting the replacement of its representative. Further criticism is directed against the Ceni’s failure to comply with public procurement contract award rules.
The regime controls everything. The Independent national electoral commission (Ceni) is not concerned about anything and carries on regardless. Its management remains opaque. The Ceni answers to no criticism and shows no transparency in the management of the funds allocated to it by the government. In-house, its management is deemed opaque and disastrous. For instance, its president has never published the list of his cabinet members because it is considered to contain an overly high quota of family names.
Moreover, our organisations observe a lack of cohesion among the members of the Ceni plenary committee. Some have decried the fact, for instance, that the financial expenditure plans signed with the government are not made public, but managed opaquely by the bureau. We may also mention the tweet from a member of the Plenary Committee denouncing the fact that no contract relating to the purchase of voting machines has been formally approved within the Ceni.
There are also day-to-day management issues. The Ceni’s provincial branches are very poorly equipped. As an example, we observed that the Executive Secretariat of the Ceni / Kinshasa branch has no photocopier (at least until April). The staff hinted that material support from the Embassy of Japan was awaited to acquire this important tool. Other equipment such as armchairs, tables, etc. leaves much to be desired. One may immediately ask the question as to how so much funding allocated to investments since 2013 by the Ceni’s budget have been used.
Finally, the government ruled out the option of clean election financing by refusing any outside help, going so far as to refuse Monusco’s logistical support in the name of national sovereignty. Paradoxically, the President of the Republic asked for support from SADC.
Our organisations believe that without a change for more transparency in the management of the Independent national electoral commission (Ceni), we are headed towards chaos and that there is a real risk of compromising the electoral process. The government must make the disbursement plan for election funds public. On its side, the Ceni must publish its use of funds and comply with the laws on public contract awards. This is important because we have no visibility on the Ceni’s finances today. Furthermore, and most importantly, this transparency requires the implementation of the New Year’s Eve agreement, especially by allowing each entity represented at Ceni to replace its member.