The European Union (EU) announced the cancellation of its electoral observation mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) due to not receiving authorization to deploy its communication equipment.
However, discussions are ongoing with Congolese authorities, and the EU might retain a small group of electoral experts to monitor the electoral process in the capital only. This incident highlights the mistrust prevailing in this pre-electoral period between the authorities and stakeholders, especially the Europeans.
In recent exchanges between Congolese authorities and EU delegates, Kinshasa expressed reservations regarding a specific category of equipment presented by the European mission tasked with monitoring the electoral process. According to government sources, security services raised concerns about some of this equipment, suspected of being able to infiltrate local internet networks.
Risk of Hacking?
Some even suggested a potential risk of hacking the electronic devices used for voting. Consequently, Kinshasa requested the mission to return the identified equipment and locally obtain the same models. In parallel, Congolese authorities expressed dissatisfaction with the content of an interview given by the deputy head of the European mission, Stéphane Mondon.
He had explained that two days after the elections, his mission would be able to publish the conclusions from its observation. This statement raised additional tensions between the two parties. Currently, there is talk of a possible reduction in the EU expert mission, but this prospect is still uncertain. According to Kinshasa authorities, this option would require a new agreement signed by Congolese authorities and the European Union.