Kinshasa, 28th December, 2018: With less than 48 hours before the elections, the SADC Electoral Observation Mission (SEOM) to the 2018 Presidential, Legislative and Provincial Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo on 28th December, 2018 brought together the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and three main presidential candidates for a dialogue on the state of preparedness for the polls.
Led by the Head of Mission, Honourable Joseph Malanji, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Republic of Zambia, the SEOM Leadership met with Mr Corneille Nangaa, the Chairperson of CENI; Mr Martin Fayulu, the Presidential Candidate of the Lamuka Coalition; Mr Vital Kamerhe, representing Mr Felix Tshisekedi, presidential candidate of the CACH Coalition; and representatives of the presidential candidate of the Common Front for Congo (FCC), Mr Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
The meeting was convened to provide a platform for the presidential candidates to have direct interactions amongst themselves and with CENI in order to provide a common understanding on the state of preparedness of the elections as the date of the elections draws near.
In their remarks, the presidential candidates and representatives commended SADC for bringing together CENI and presidential candidates to engage on outstanding electoral matters. They all highlighted the need to safeguard the peace throughout the remaining period of the electoral process and put the interest of Congolese people above everything.
The President of CENI, Mr Nangaa assured the candidates and the SEOM leadership that the elections will be held as scheduled without further delays. Mr Nangaa expressed CENI’s commitment to engage with the political and electoral stakeholders in the final days leading to the elections to ensure that any outstanding issues are addressed in order to have credible, inclusive and peaceful elections.
In a bid to ensure the transparency of the vote, Mr Nangaa said, all results from the manual count of ballot papers will be displayed at each polling station and that CENI invited all political party witnesses to accompany the envelopes containing ballot papers to the Local Centre for Results Compilation (CRCL).
The SEOM Head of Mission, Hon. Malanji noted the commitment by CENI to hold elections on the scheduled date and commended the candidates for remaining calm and optimistic, following the postponement of the elections from 23rd to 30th December, 2018. He indicated that such a gesture demonstrates the candidates’ high level of political maturity and responsibility and called upon them to remain committed to peace and social harmony during and after the polling day. He further urged all presidential candidates to make a firm commitment to respect the results of the elections and resort to means provided under the laws of the country if they have concerns with regard to the electoral process.
During the meeting the SEOM Head of Mission was assisted by the Alternate Head of Mission Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Ernest Sakala (Rtd), members of the Organ Troika, namely H.E. Friday Nyambe, Ambassador of Zambia to the DRC, H.E. Mr. Raphael T. Faranisi, Ambassador of Zimbabwe to DRC and H .E. Mr. José João Manuel, Ambassador of Angola to the DRC as well as; members of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council (SEAC), the Director of Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Affairs, Mr Jorge Cardoso, representing the Executive Secretary and officers from the SADC Secretariat.