With just one week remaining until the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the government has reached out to the United Nations for assistance in transporting electoral materials to hard-to-reach areas.
The Congolese ambassador to the UN, Zénon Mukongo Ngay, dispatched a letter on December 12 to the UN Security Council, seeking the support of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the DRC (MONUSCO). The upcoming December 20 elections, encompassing presidential, legislative, and local contests, pose a formidable logistical challenge.
In his missive dated December 12, Ambassador Zénon Mukongo, representing the DRC at the United Nations, formally requests the Security Council’s authorization to expand MONUSCO’s logistical support to additional provinces in the country, as outlined by our correspondent in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi.
Historically, MONUSCO helicopters have been utilized solely for facilitating the deployment of electoral materials in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu, and South Kivu, where the mission is currently deployed. The existing mandate of MONUSCO confines its operations to these three provinces. It is noteworthy that even for these three provinces, the mandate’s resolution specifies that support for the electoral process should not compromise the Mission’s ability to fulfill its core priorities.
Ambassador Zénon Mukongo stated on Monday that he anticipates the insertion of electoral support in the resolution renewing MONUSCO’s mandate. Despite expressing a desire for an accelerated MONUSCO departure, the government continues to rely on its logistical capabilities and therefore seeks MONUSCO’s assistance in extending support to other provinces for the transportation of electoral materials. A source reveals specific challenges in Equateur, where isolation and a lack of road infrastructure impede timely delivery.
A week ago, the Independent Electoral Commission had requested from the government the provision of four Antonov aircraft and 10 helicopters for the deployment of electoral kits.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission (Céni) remains confident. On Wednesday, it briefed Southern African Development Community (SADC) observers on the logistical measures in place to ensure the successful conduct of elections on December 20. Given the proximity to the elections, a response from the Security Council is anticipated soon, according to UN sources.