In anticipation of local, provincial, parliamentary and presidential elections that will take place through the end of 2016, President Joseph Kabila last week called on all political parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to join him in a forthcoming national dialogue focused on creating an environment for a peaceful electoral process.
In February, the DRC?s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published an official electoral calendar that reaffirmed the government?s commitment to free and fair elections pursuant to terms established by the Constitution.
In a letter sent today to International Crisis Group (ICG) President Jean-Marie Gu?henno, Minister of Communications Lambert Mende conveyed the government?s view that ?The timely conduct of each of these [elections] is essential to the strengthening of our democratic government.? The Minister?s letter, responding to the ICG?s recent report, Congo: Is Democratic Change Possible?, explained that ?all stakeholders ? the CENI, the government, political parties, civil society, donors and international partners ? have a role in ensuring the proper execution of our electoral mandate.?
As evidenced by President Kabila?s efforts over the past week, Minister Mende affirmed that an ?active dialogue among these groups has been proposed by our government, and is being pursued at this time.?
Elections set for the coming months will also benefit from financial and technical support from international partners, as the DRC puts structures and mechanisms in place that contribute to their effective implementation. Minister Mende also noted that other practical recommendations that promote a safe and peaceful election cycle for the DRC and its citizens will be considered throughout the process.
Addressing the question posed by the ICG report?s title, Minister Mende stated that ?working steadfastly and collaboratively with all interested parties, the Congolese people will be able to advance the DRC?s democratic ambitions in a manner that further stabilizes and strengthens our nation for the future.?