Postponement of elections, forceful passage or possible coup d'état?  Three dark scenarios on the Congo table

Postponement of elections, forceful passage or possible coup d’état? Three dark scenarios on the Congo table

” Hit or miss ” ! Seven days before the general elections in the DRC, this would be the current bet of President Tshisekedi and all international actors. Congolese civil society is helplessly witnessing these catastrophic scenarios for the future of the Nation and even Africa. The political opposition remains characterized by unrealistic egos and its inability to assert its unifying force and the common interest, condemning itself to play only a minimal role given the opacity of the electoral process.

Never in the history of the Congolese Nation has an electoral process been so contested.

From the boycott of the Kabilist FCC, to a limited participation of the opposition, without forgetting the war and the occupation of the east of the country, the organization of the upcoming elections cruelly lacks inclusiveness. If we add financial opacity, the absence of an independent audit of the electoral register, the non-display of electoral lists, erased voter cards and above all the absence of deployment of sensitive materials a few days before the election , we can still wonder about the probability of holding this crucial election for the future of the DRC. Would it be fair, transparent and able to enforce the people’s choice?

Today, it is clear that it seems impossible to have credible and acceptable elections.

Voices are being raised to call for a reasonable postponement of these elections.

But not a simple technical report. Because so that the people are not again deprived of their rights, an audit of the process is essential as well as transparency in all the preparatory stages, with the ambition of reaching global democratic standards. It must also be accompanied by a national dialogue to allow a peaceful climate.

The entire team responsible for this failure will have to be reorganized. Will there not be a need for a transition from technocrats without politicians?

And the responsibilities for present and past failures assumed by their authors.

In current circumstances, three major scenarios seem to emerge, each as dangerous as the other…

  1. A postponement of the elections

As we have just said, postponement could be the best hypothesis.

Regardless of the justification used for any technical postponement, opposition request, etc., the CENI and the government are responsible and must be held accountable. Civil society has not stopped sounding the alarm for months. Faced with these calls, the president of the CENI, the government and the President of the Republic have always responded smugly that “these elections will take place on December 20”.

Isn’t there a need for a complete overhaul of the CENI and all the institutions involved in the organization of this election?

  1. Chaotic elections

The second scenario is that of a forceful move by the CENI and the government, especially since this has been their behavior since the start of the process. They have always favored their selfish interests and the preservation of their power rather than the collective interest and the organization of good elections. The presence of international observers, although contributing to the integrity of the elections, has been hampered: recently the Carter Center was the victim of organized disinformation about its action, while the European Union observation mission did not receive permission to use satellite phones.

This observation portends an obvious environment of opacity.

This scenario is clearly that of the worst and carries with it the seeds of chaos. After the “African-style” arrangements of 2018, the people want to freely choose their leaders. Depriving him of this right risks leading to the implosion of violence in an already overheated country. This could ignite uncontrollably and destabilize an entire region, well beyond the borders of the DRC.

  1. A military coup

The return of coups d’état in Africa makes this abominable scenario all the more plausible since an appeal was launched in this direction by a former Kabilist general on the run abroad. Therefore, it is necessary for the population to be prepared for such an eventuality. Especially since the conspiracy theorists among the negative forces in the shadows would have an easy time adorning themselves with the status of savior of the Nation in the face of the corruption, intolerance and incompetence of the current regime.

It is therefore more than urgent that the active forces of the Nation come together and propose solutions that will preserve the peace and security of all.

This appeal is particularly brought to the attention of the Belgian and European authorities.

What is being prepared in Congo is not an event to be contemplated from afar. The Great Lakes region has a pressing need for stability, good governance, security, and prospects for finally shared prosperity. All factors which seem not to be among the priorities of this election.

Our historical and geographical proximity, and the potentially dramatic consequences which will not spare our relations with the Congo, call for increased attention.

The issues are not just national or regional. They have an impact on the planet, on our societies and our States, in particular climate challenges, immigration pressures, etc.

This is in no way a plea for any interference in a sovereign matter if there is one. Moreover, the Congolese people are not fooled by the immense risks which threaten them again. This is a call for the “duty of non-indifference” of our societies and governments towards a people still held hostage by a system which has put everything in place to deprive them, this time again, of their voice and his destiny of freedom.

A presidential candidate, Marie-Josée Ifoko calls for a postponement of 2 to 3 months…)

Patrick Balemba, researcher in charge of the DR Congo file within the Justice and Peace Commission (Belgium)

Bob Kabamba (Political scientist, Univ Liège),

Claude Kazadi Lubatchi, communications specialist, formerly of ULB

Colonel Shema Tuza (Ex-FARDC Officer, forced into political asylum in Belgium after he defended orthodox theses within the National Security Council of the DRC),

Welcome Matumo, geography researcher (Paris 8 University)

Yves Makwambala (LUCHA, former prisoner of conscience, formerly supported by Amnesty International) and