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Conditions not ready to open polling in eastern DRC

Kambale Ngayiremawa, in charge of legal issues and disputes for the Independent National Electoral Commission in North Kivu

and AFP

An official of the Congolese electoral body confirmed on Tuesday (Dec. 12) that violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's east will disenfranchise some voters in the North Kivu province.

This comes after incumbent president Tshisekedi conceded parts of the territory will not cast a ballot after a military counteroffensive against M23 rebels fizzled out in mid-November.

"In Rutshuru, we have enrolled more or less 10% of the expected voters, and we have no candidates, so the conditions are not right for opening the polling stations. In Masisi, I think it's around 1% of voters who enrolled."

Some 44 million registered voters will elect on December 20 their president, MPs, members of provincial bodies and municipal councils.

As voting material was being presented to journalists, during the press conference in Goma, Kambale Ngayiremawa was reassuring over final preparations.

"[Election] material will go to the voting sites. So no one can tell you [that something is] missing, no no no. In other words, we're moving forward gradually. Otherwise everything is there, rest assured, on 20 (December) we will vote."

NGO international crisis group estimated that over one million Congolese will be disenfranchised.

Last August, the electoral commission announced that 16 seats at the National Assembly would be reserved for three territories torn by armed conflict; namely Masisi and Rutshuru in the east and  Kwamouth, in the country's west.


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