DRC : 177 NGOs say “No to a 3rd term of office for President Joseph Kabila !”

JOINT STATEMENT
BY CITIZENS MOVEMENTS AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS IN THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

No to a 3rd term of office for President Joseph Kabila!

No to changing the Constitution!

Yes to holding credible, transparent, fair, and inclusive elections in accordance with the New Year’s Eve agreement!

Yes to respecting civil liberties and the release of prisoners of conscience!

We, members of civil society organizations and citizen movements who have signed this statement, committed to the fight to protect democracy through a democratic transition and respect for the rule of law in the Democratic Republic of Congo, hereby condemn the rhetoric and calls from officials in the presidential majority in support of President Joseph Kabila’s candidacy in upcoming elections for a third term of office and the revision of the constitution, in clear violation of the provisions of articles 70 and 220 of the latter, and the New Year’s Eve agreement.

These calls, as well as the Kabila campaign posters that we see more and more frequently across the country, unmistakably reveal President Joseph Kabila’s long-denied intention to do whatever he can to remain in power, in violation of our constitution.

We strongly condemn these deliberately provocative attempts to exacerbate the country’s already extremely tense political crisis, and to dangerously undermine democracy and peace in the DRC.

We note that the current electoral process is highly controversial and hardly reassuring to the Congolese people and the various stakeholders involved. It is more than obvious now that the New Year’s Eve agreement, signed by the main political and civil society structures under the auspices of the Catholic Church on December 31, 2016, was deliberately distorted by those in power to gain time, instead of being implemented in good faith.

We wish to recall that from 2015 until now, citizens movements, civil society organizations, opposition parties and practically the entire Congolese population have, through multiple public demonstrations, expressed and continue to express their unequivocal intention and determination to ensure respect for the Constitution and to experience a democratic transition at the top of the State for the first time in the country’s history. These protests were brutally crushed by security forces, who killed more than 300 people, wounded hundreds, and arbitrarily arrested several hundred others. Even now, many innocent victims of this bloody repression still languish in the detention centers of the National Intelligence Agency (ANR) and the former DEMIAP (Military Intelligence), as well as in the country’s prisons, often subjected to inhuman conditions.

All the heroic victims of this brutal repression sacrificed their precious lives and freedom for the sake of protecting democracy, strict observance of the constitution, and so that the DRC can hold truly free, credible, open and transparent elections leading to the peaceful succession of Joseph Kabila.

Through this statement, we reiterate our commitment to pursue the cause for which thousands of Congolese women and men have sacrificed their lives, and the extreme committment of the entire Congolese people for their Constitution, the supreme law that demands protection against opportunistic change or tendentious interpretations by “intellectuals” who have peddled their souls and conscience or by the Constitutional Court, now under the full control of the political family of President Joseph Kabila, who, moreover, has lost the legitimacy and trust of the population.

We are therefore determined to warn the national and international community of our strong response to any attempt to sabotage or desecrate the constitution by trying to have it construed, revised or changed with a view to maintaining the power of a single man and/or his system, which has already caused, and continues to cause, so much damage to an already deeply-scarred people.

Furthermore, we are seriously concerned by the way the current electoral process is unfolding, giving absolutely no guarantee of being able to achieve a credible, free, fair and honest election on December 23, 2018. Our people are far too aware and the stakes far too high for us to simply tick the boxes each time the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) declares urbi et orbi that this or that important date on its notorious electoral calendar has been observed.

Unlike the CENI officials and some diplomats for whom the elections in the DRC seem to be a mere formality, for us, it is our future and that of our children that is at stake. Behind every ballot placed in the box, there is immense hope that a fresh page of peace, justice, freedom and dignity will be turned! That is precisely why the Congolese are ready to brave even bullets and prison walls.

Indeed, many indisputable facts cast a great deal of doubt on the credibility and integrity of the electoral process as it has been conducted so far by the CENI. Some facts seriously throw doubt on the existence of any real willingness and ability to hold the promised election in six months’ time.  These include the following:

  • A voting register that is hardly credible or reliable: So far, the external audit conducted by experts from the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) of the voter registration list has brought to light several discrepancies with the purged electoral register presented by the CENI. Notably, the audit stated that more than 16.6% of voters were registered without fingerprints, while other registrations were incomplete and without photographs. In addition, the register contains more than 6 million duplicates and detected minors who, although officially deleted from the electoral register, still hold their voter cards. Moreover, the mechanism for displaying temporary voters’ lists recommended by the OIF and adopted by the CENI to make the voter list more reliable, albeit legal, appears to be extremely weak and ineffective. It has already demonstrated its limits in the past.

These clear ploys to prepare future electoral fraud must be denounced.

  • A seat allocation law that is hardly valid: The law on the allocation of seats for members of parliament, in which the seat allocation is based on unaudited electoral statistics and riddled with the above-mentioned discrepancies, shows the injustice and disparity between the provinces in such a way that will have a real impact on the country’s democratic configuration and could provoke future conflicts.

 

  • Articles 145 and 146 paragraphs 1 and 2 of the electoral law are intrinsically contradictory in that they respectively provide for the calculation of the number of seats to be filled proportionally to the number of voters registered and the number of inhabitants. This could lead to legal challenges to the election results insofar as it would contradict the allocation of seats contained in the appendix to the law.

 

  • Use of voting machines: For a plethora of reasons, this question raises fierce contention within the political class and the population. The Congo Research Group has stated that “The use of voting machines could foment chaos on election day due to the potential for breakdowns and glitches, an electorate that has not been educated in how to use the high-tech machines, and the insufficient amount of time allotted per voter… the use of the voting machines could undermine the secrecy of the voting process guaranteed by the Congolese constitution… the lack of transparency with regard to the procurement process, the lack of rigorous testing of the machines, and the absence of an impartial third-party to monitor the use of the machines has further undermined an election commission that is already struggling to gain the public’s trust. (GEC, 2018). Furthermore, the use of voting machines has no legal basis. From South Korea to Argentina to Iraq, the use of these machines has been seriously criticized and rejected, with the risks they represent for the integrity, transparency and credibility of elections clearly demonstrated. Moreover, electoral experts from civil society have shown that discontinuing their use would have no impact on keeping to the electoral schedule. Yet the CENI insists on imposing the use of voting machines.

 

  • The prevailing climate of mistrust towards the CENI and the lack of sincere, objective consultation amongst key players in the process are other crucial elements that aggravate the imposition and defiant use of these machines. This causes both suspicion and frustration before the elections in an already fragmented and tense situation.

 

  • The extremely weak implementation of the disbursement plan for election funds: To date, out of the 150 million USD that the Government was supposed to disburse on electoral operations over the previous five months, only 52 million have already been released. This means that the Government is expected to provide more than 300 million USD over the coming five months to succeed in holding elections on December 23, 2018. This is not reassuring, when confronted with the degree of social discontent that is breaking out in many sectors of State affairs and with the underlying political will still weak.

 

  • The list of political parties and groups has resulted in the splitting of opposition parties and barred major players from the electoral process.

 

  • The lack of trust in the electoral process shown by the various civil society players, the opposition, and a large portion of the population, as shown by the Congo Research Group’s recent survey. This loss of trust is due in part to the lack of impartiality of the main CENI officials and the opacity that surrounds the CENI’s financial management and procurement contract awards, particularly involving the notorious voting machines;

 

  • The widespread insecurity across the national territory with the proliferation of more than 120 armed groups, plus a serious humanitarian crisis that has forced nearly five million Congolese (including almost two million potential voters) to relocate inside the country, and hundreds of thousands of others into exile in neighboring countries. Worse still, a large portion of the nationwide violence is perpetrated and orchestrated by our own military and security and intelligence officers. It is clear that securing the electoral process remains a conundrum in the midst of such conflict dynamics.

 

  • The noxious political climate: While the New Year’s Eve agreement calls for the application of confidence building measures as a priority, and despite the sensational announcements made by some authorities regarding the end of the ban on public demonstrations, political space has continued to shrink. The prohibition of public demonstrations and public meetings of opposition parties and civil society, the closing down of media sympathetic to the opposition, the splitting of political parties, arrests of civil society activists and citizen movements by the intelligence services, and the throttling of political expression by politically inspired lawsuits are increasing on a daily basis.

 

  • A privatized Constitutional Court: Rightly considered the keystone of the electoral process, the Constitutional Court is nothing more than a sounding board for President Kabila and his party. Unashamedly, the few independent judges who were part of the Court were forced to resign and were replaced by President Kabila’s loyal supporters. Today, it is anything but impartial when ruling in the first and last instances. It rules in the last instance in pre-election and post-election disputes for the President of the Republic. This foreshadows a settlement of electoral disputes in the streets, because no neutral arbitrator enjoying the confidence of all parties exists.

The strength of the evidence makes it clear that proceeding with elections under these conditions, all things being equal, would inevitably lead the DRC to election and post-election violence and conflicts with grave consequences for the future of the Congolese Nation and potential repercussions throughout the sub-region.

While it is true, as many often argue, that the DRC is not Sweden, it is just as fair and true that the Congolese deserve to be given back their dignity and fundamental rights and that they are also entitled to a high-quality, honest and effective electoral process, enabling every Congolese citizen to express his or her choice freely.

After so many sacrifices, we will not settle for an already biased electoral process that can only lead to a ridiculous scene of cooptation, via the CENI, of politicians appointed in advance to re-establish the current political system. The people will not be robbed of their precious democracy and will react with all the energy it will take to protect their rights. Considering the elections in the DRC as unworthy of the minimum standards established at the regional and international levels is not only contemptuous, it is irresponsible – especially on the part of those who rely on sub-regional stability.

We invite the DRC’s partners – the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), the African Union, the European Union, the United States and the United Nations – to stand by the Congolese people in demanding conditions conducive to truly credible, transparent, free, inclusive and high-quality elections. If current institutions, in addition to being illegitimate, are incapable of rapidly guaranteeing these conditions, other options need to be considered. Their power is no longer based on the constitution but on the consensus represented by the New Year’s Eve agreement.

We also appeal to all Congolese throughout the country and abroad to remain vigilant, on guard and ready for action until our dream of electing our own leaders and enjoying a new system of governance based on the rule of law, strong institutions, and in which fundamental rights are respected, comes true.

 “THE PEOPLE ALWAYS WIN!”

A message from our dear colleague and martyr for democracy, Rossy Mukendi, savagely killed by the Congolese security forces during a peaceful protest outside his church in Kinshasa on February 25, 2018.

 

For more information, please contact :

 

  1. In KINSHASA :
  • Georges KAPIAMBA

Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ)

Tel : +243814043641

Email : kapiambag2@gamil.com

 

  1. At GOMA :
  • Fred BAUMA

Lutte pour le Changement (LUCHA)

Tel. +243971422656

Email : baumafred@gamil.com

 

  1. In LUBUMBASHI :
  • Me Thimothé MBUYA

Justicia Asbl

Tel. +243818050488

Email : justicia.asbl@gmail.com

 

List of Signatories:

  1. Action Citoyenne Bonne Gouvernance (ACBG)
  2. Action Communautaire Intégré pour le Développement du Congo (ACIDEC)
  3. Action contre ’impunité des droits humains (ACIDH)
  4. Action des Chrétiens Activistes des Droits de l’Homme à Shabunda (ACADHOSHA)
  5. Action des femmes pour le développement (AFEDEP)
  6. Action des Mamans pour l’épanouissement des Femmes (AMEF)
  7. Action des Chrétiens pour Absolution de la Torture (ACAT)
  8. Action pour l’Environnement et la Paix (AEP)
  9. Action pour la justice et le développement (AJD)
  10. Action pour la justice et le développement (AJD)
  11. Action pour la Promotion Intégrale de la Femme au Développement (APRID)
  12. Action pour le Développement Communautaire (AAC)
  13. Action pour le Développement Communautaire (ADC)
  14. Action pour le Développement des Pygmées (ADP)
  15. Action pour Promotion des Minorité (APPM)
  16. Action Sociale pour le Développement Communautaire (ASODEC)
  17. Action solidaire pour la Conservation et le Développement Intégral (ASCODI)
  18. Actions d’aides aux survivants de la torture (AAST/relève)
  19. Actions des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture (ACAT/Haut Lomami)
  20. Actions rapides pour le développement (ARD)
  21. African ressources Watch (AFRIWACH)
  22. Agir pour des Elections Transparentes et Apaisées (AETA)
  23. Alliance pour la révolution de la conscience (ARPC)
  24. Amani Institute –RDC (AI-RDC)
  25. Appui Social de la Femme pour le Développement (ASOFEDE)
  26. Appui Social des Femmes pour le Développement (ASOFED)
  27. Association Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme (ASADHO)
  28. Association Congolaise pour l’Accès à la Justice (ACAJ)
  29. Association d’Encadrement des Jeunes pour le Développement (AEJD)
  30. Association de Développement de Lutte contre la Pauvreté et pour la Défense des droits de la Femme (ADEPF)
  31. Association de Prévention et Gestion des Conflits (APGC)
  32. Association des Cultivateurs de Lobulama (ACULO)
  33. Association des Femmes de Médias (AFEM)
  34. Association des Femmes Juristes Congolaises/Kongo Central (AFEJUCO)
  35. Association des Femmes Juristes du Congo (AFEJUCO/SK)
  36. Association des femmes pour le développement communautaire (AFEMDECO)
  37. Association des Fondations d’Entraide et de Développement des Musulmans du Congo (AFEDEMICO)
  38. Association des Jeunes Visionnaires et Développement
  39. Association des Mamans pour la Lutte contre la Délinquance Féminine et l’Encadrement des Enfants Abandonnés (AMALDEFEA)
  40. Association des Mamans pour le Développement Intégré (ASMADI)
  41. Association des Pêcheurs de Bakanga Village (ACUBAV)
  42. Association des Pygmées de BOLOMBA (APIBO)
  43. Association des Pygmées Ressortissants d’Ingende (APRI)
  44. Association des Techniciens de Pêche (ATDP)
  45. Association des Techniciens pour le Développement de la Pêche (ATD/Pêche)
  46. Association Nationale des Parents d’Elèves et Etudiants du Congo (ANAPECO)
  47. Association pour la Défense des Droits de la Femme (ADDF)
  48. Association pour la Protection et les Droits de la Femme (APDFE)
  49. Association pour la Solidarité et le Développement (ASODEV)
  50. Association pour le Développement des Initiatives Paysannes (ASSODIP)
  51. Association pour les droits des humanitaires (ADH)
  52. Association pour les droits des malades (ADDM)
  53. Bureau de Coordination de la Société civile
  54. Centre Africain des droits de l’Homme et des Peuples Autochtones (CADHOP)
  55. Centre africain des droits de l’homme et peuples autochtones (CADHOP)
  56. Centre Communautaire de Développement (CCD)
  57. Centre d’Accueil et de Réadaptation des Personnes Vivant avec Handicap et Invalide (CARHI)
  58. Centre d’Encadrement pour le développement des Personnes Handicapés (CEDPH)
  59. Centre d’Appui à la Promotion de la Sante (CAPSA)
  60. Centre de Formation pour la Promotion de la Gouvernance minière (CFPG)
  61. Centre de Promotion Socio- Sanitaire (CEPROSSAN ASBL/RDC)
  62. Centre de Recherche Botanique Halieutique (CREPHAS)
  63. Centre de Recherche et de Promotion des Droits de l’Homme (CRPDH)
  64. Centre des abonnés et de réintégration des enfants orphelins (CAREO)
  65. Centre des droits de l’homme et du droit humanitaire (CDH)
  66. Centre d’Etudes et de Formation Populaire pour les Droits de l’Homme (CEFOP/DH)
  67. Centre international de promotion et développement et des droits humains (CEIPDHO)
  68. Centre Olame
  69. Centre pour la justice et la réconciliation (CJR)
  70. Centre pour les Droits de l’Homme et Droits Humanitaires (CDH)
  71. Cercle internationale Pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, la paix et l’Environnement (CIDDHOPE)
  72. Collectif des Femmes Avocates pour les Droits de l’Homme (COPAF/DH)
  73. Collectif des Femmes de l’Equateur (COLFEQ)
  74. Collectif des Femmes Journalistes (CFJ)
  75. Collectif des Femmes qui se Lèvent comme une Mère(CFLM)
  76. Comité de Lutte Anti Tracasseries (CLAT)
  77. Comité de Lutte Anti Tracasseries/Mbandaka (CLAT/Mbandaka)
  78. Compte à Rebours
  79. Congo Justice/ RDC
  80. Congrès International des Congolais (CIC)
  81. Congrès pour le renouveau syndical (CORES)
  82. Convention pour le Développement des Peuples Autochtones Batswa (CPDA)
  83. Convention Pour le Respect des Droits de l’Homme (CRDH)
  84. Coopérative Agropastorale (COO-AGROPA)
  85. Coopérative des Forces Unies pour le Développement de Lolanga (COFUDE)
  86. Coopérative des pêcheurs et Maraîchers de Lobulama (COPEMALO)
  87. Coordination des personnes handicapées du Kasaï – Oriental, (COPHAKOR)
  88. Débout jeunesse congolaise (DJEC)
  89. Ecole de Formation Internationale des Droits Humains (EFIDH)
  90. Espoir des compagnons au soir de la vie (ECOSOV)
  91. Fédération des Coopératives des Pêcheurs de l’Equateur (FECOPE)
  92. Fédération des Initiatives Locales pour le Développement de Bolomba (FIDELBO)
  93. Femme d’action pour le réveil (FAR)
  94. Femme dans la Reconstruction pour le Développement du Congo (FERDEC)
  95. Femme en action (FAC)
  96. Femmes Engagées pour la Promotion de la Sante Intégrale (FEPSI)
  97. Femmes Juristes pour la Défense des Droits de la Femme et de l’enfant (FJDF)
  98. Fondation Développement et Paix (FDP)
  99. Fondation Panzi
  100. Forum d’Action Intégral pour le Développement Rural (FAIDD)
  101. Fraternité des prisons (FDP)
  102. Génération Déterminée (GD)
  103. Great Lakes Human Rights Program/Congo (GLHRP)
  104. Groupe d’action non violente évangélique (GANVE)
  105. Groupe d’action pour la démobilisation et la réinsertion des enfants soldats (GADERES)
  106. Groupe d’Action pour la promotion de la Femme (GAPROF)
  107. Groupe d’Appui au Développement Endogène (GADE)
  108. Groupe d’Appui aux Jeunes et Enfants Nécessiteux (GAJEN)
  109. Groupe d’Appui pour le Développement Intégré (GRADI)
  110. Groupe d’Appui pour le Développement Intégré (GADI)
  111. Groupe d’Intervention Minorité de l’Equateur (GIME)
  112. Héritiers d’Afrique (HA)
  113. Human rescue (HR)
  114. Humanisme et droits humains (HDH)
  115. Institut africain de formation en droits humains (INAFDH)
  116. Interaction pour le Développement de la Femme (IDF)
  117. Jardin d’Eden (JE)
  118. JUSTICIA asbl
  119. Karibu Jeunesse Nouvelle (KJN)
  120. La voix du savoir (LAVOS)
  121. Le Centre d’Observation des Droits de l’Homme et d’Assistance Sociale (CODHAS)
  122. LIBERTAS
  123. Ligue contre la fraude et la corruption (LICOF)
  124. Ligue des Consommateurs de la province de l’Equateur (LICOPEQ)
  125. Ligue internationale des conseillers (LIC)
  126. Ligue pour la zone Afrique des droits des élèves (LEZADEL)
  127. LUCHA
  128. Mama na Nzela ya Développement (MND)
  129. Mobilisation, encadrement, écologie et défense des droits humains par les amis des familles démunies (MEEDAF)
  130. Mouvement d’Appui à un Avenir Durable (MAAD)
  131. Mouvement International des Etudiants Catholiques (MIEC)
  132. Mouvement pour les droits de l’homme et la réconciliation (MDR)
  133. Nouvelle Dynamique de la jeunesse féminine (NDJF)
  134. Nouvelle Dynamique de la Société Civile (NDCI)
  135. Nouvelles Dynamiques pour le Développement Rural Intégré (NODRI)
  136. Observatoire de la parité en RDC
  137. Observatoire pour la Défense de la Constitution (OCDC)
  138. Œuvre chrétienne pour la femme (OCF)
  139. Œuvre de Développement Intégré (ODI)
  140. Organisation pour la promotion et protection des droits de l’homme (OPPDH)
  141. Pax Christi I / Butembo
  142. Peace and Human Dignity for Development (PHDD)
  143. Programme Communautaire pour le Développement (PCD)
  144. Programme d’Action pour le Développement Endogène (PADE)
  145. Programme de Développement Intégré des Pygmées (PRODIP)
  146. Projet de Développement Socio Sanitaire (PRODESSAN)
  147. Protégeons la vie Humaine (PVH)
  148. Psychologues sans frontières (PS)
  149. Psychologues sans frontières (PSF)
  150. Renforcement d’Initiatives des Ménages et Associations Rurales en difficulté (RIMARD)
  151. Réseau d’Actions des Femmes (RAF)
  152. Réseau de protection des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, Victimes, Témoins, Avocats et Journalistes(RPDDH)
  153. Réseau des communicateurs humanitaires (RCH)
  154. Réseau des Femmes pour la Défense des Droits et la Paix (RFDP)
  155. Réseau des Victimes de l’Insécurité au Congo (REVI)
  156. Réseau International des Activistes des Droits de l’Homme (RIADH)
  157. Salongo Alinga Mosala (SAM)
  158. Si Tous les Enfants du monde étaient Notre (STEV)
  159. Société Congolaise Contre les Tracasseries (SOCOTRAC-PC)
  160. Solidarité de Femmes pour la Paix et le Développement Intégral (SOFEPADI)
  161. Solidarité des Albinos du Kasai – Oriental (SAKOR)
  162. Solidarité des Associations Féminines pour les Droits de Femmes et de l’Enfant (SAFDF)
  163. Solidarité des Femmes pour le Développement Intégral (SOFEDI)
  164. Solidarité des Ongs pour la démocratie, éducation civique et Droit de Homme (SOLIDEC-K/DH)
  165. Solidarité pour la Promotion Sociale et la Paix (SOPROP)
  166. Stand Up African Art (SUAA)
  167. Syndicat de Femmes Travailleuses (SYFET)
  168. Synergie des Femmes pour la Paix et la Réconciliation/ Femme Au Faune (SPR/FAP)
  169. Tosala Mosala Tobongisa (TMT)
  170. Trois Rivières (TR)
  171. Union Congolaise des Femmes des médias (UCOFEM)
  172. Union des Agriculteurs et Eleveurs du Congo (UNAGRICO)
  173. Union des Familles pour la Recherches de la Paix (UFARP)
  174. Union pour le Développement de l’Humanité (UDH)
  175. Villages Communautaires (VICO/SK)
  176. Vision Nouvelle de l’Equateur (V.N.E)
  177. Vision sociale

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