-> Presence of national observers and international experts.
Citizen and political observation is an essential component of the electoral process, with a vital role in transparency and enhancing the confidence of the stakeholders in the voting methods and results. It is therefore essential that all national and international stakeholders and institutions be allowed to participate without hindrance.
If the electoral process was unfolding correctly and the authorities enjoyed the trust of the stakeholders and the people, the observation principle would not have been on our list. But it turns out that most civil society and opposition party organisations question the independence and impartiality of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni). Moreover, it was UN Security Council Resolution 2409 that called for the establishment of a group of experts (UN, AU, SADC, ICGLR) to support the Ceni. President Joseph Kabila refuses its implementation in the name of sovereignty. And we have also observed numerous cases of hindrances by Ceni against local observers.
The stand-off continues between the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) and the international community over the presence of an international panel of experts. The Ceni and the government categorically reject the implementation of this panel. Local observers no longer have access to Ceni’s work outside the registration offices. British experts who worked on the voting machine stated at the half way point that the process totally lacked transparency.
In addition, the many appeals from national observer organisations for real access to Ceni data have remained dead letters. The last case is undoubtedly the appeal made by Synergie des Missions d’Observation Citoyenne des Élections (MOE-SYMOCEL) to the organisation in charge of organizing the elections “to facilitate a citizen audit of the electoral register. With the aim of dispelling any suspicion and paving the way for trustful cooperation on the electoral process.
As things now stand, the electoral process is headed for disaster if nothing is done about it. Voices are already rising inside the presidential majority to oppose the presence of international observers in the next elections, in the name of sovereignty. As for the national observers, there are few, and are very often barred from the actual voting operations. The Independent national electoral commission (Ceni) does not give them the information they need. The country is thus very likely on its way to elections without transparency, for the benefit of one side only.