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Serious Concerns about the Credibility of DR Congo’s Electoral Process

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Serious Concerns about the Credibility of DR Congo’s Electoral Process

Posted by Enough Team on December 20, 2018

Process marred by repression, major transparency issues, seriously unlevel playing field. Enough Project and The Sentry’s experts are available for comment

Washington, DC – As the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) heads to presidential, legislative, and local elections now scheduled one week late, on December 30, the Enough Project is raising serious concerns about the electoral process. The process has thus far been dominated by major credibility issues that have created widespread distrust of the process by the Congolese population, and it now risks much wider violence on election day and afterward. The national electoral commission CENI’s announcement that it will hold elections one week later is one indication of many in a long string of developments that demonstrates that the Congolese government has no interest in holding a credible election.

The electoral cycle to date has been dominated by major red flags and credibility issues that have created widespread distrust of the process by the Congolese population. The Enough Project is raising serious concerns about both the underlying credibility of the electoral process and the risk for wider violence during the electoral period.  The international community should act immediately to send a clear message that further delays are unacceptable and there will be consequences for deliberate attempts to undermine Congo’s democratic processes and institutions. The Enough Project calls on the United States, European Union, African Union and United Nations Security Council to enact financial sanctions on members of President Kabila’s inner circle, including his close advisers, corrupt business partners, and financial facilitators, and the companies they control, as well as anti-money laundering measures.

Enough Project and The Sentry’s experts are available for comment.

Sasha Lezhnev, Deputy Director of Policy at the Enough Project, said: “The Congolese government has repeatedly failed to meet critical benchmarks for credibility and transparency with this election, and all indicators point to a sham election in which President Kabila maintains power from behind the scenes in furtherance of the financial interests of himself, his family, and his corrupt business partners. That situation risks the outbreak of much worse violence and conflict. The U.S., European Union, and African Union should hold leaders accountable for corruption in the election and more broadly by placing network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures on key members of Kabila’s inner circle.”

Sarah Gardiner, Investigative Analyst at The Sentry, said: “Congo’s elections should represent the first opportunity for a democratic transition of power in Congo’s history. However, the Congolese government under President Kabila has consistently demonstrated that it has no interest in holding a credible election. Lack of transparency and accountability in the electoral process mirror broader dynamics of state capture in Congo writ large.  Following the elections, the international community should press for the broader structural reforms necessary to transform the violent kleptocracy holding the country hostage.”

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Megha Swamy at mswamy@enoughproject.org.

A plethora of serious concerns have marred the electoral process to date. These include:

The lack of transparency and accountability in the electoral process mirrors broader dynamics of state capture in the country writ large.  The credibility – or lack thereof – of the election will set the tone for the Congolese government’s post-electoral agenda, and political will to enact much needed anti-corruption reforms.  The United States should act now to implement network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, and prosecutions for financial crimes associated with human rights abuses in order to create pressure for both immediate cessation of violent repression and attempts to undermine the democratic process and long-term processes of reform and increased governmental accountability.

Read some of the Enough Project and The Sentry’s recent publications on Congo:

  • Click here to read The Sentry’s investigative report, “Delays and Red Flags: Elections in DR Congo.
  • Click here to read The Sentry’s investigative report, “Electronic Voting Technology DRC: Security Vulnerabilities and Déjà Vu
  • Click here to read Enough Project’s report, “A Criminal State: Understanding and countering institutionalized corruption and violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Click here to read an op-ed, “Congo’s Looting and Killing Machine Moves Into High Gear,” in the Daily Beast by Enough Project’s Founding Director and The Sentry’s Co-Founder, John Prendergast.

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Megha Swamy at mswamy@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT

The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

About THE SENTRY

The Sentry is composed of financial forensic investigators, policy analysts, and regional experts who follow the dirty money and build investigative cases focusing on the corrupt transnational networks most responsible for Africa’s deadliest conflicts. By creating a significant financial cost to these kleptocrats through network sanctions, anti-money laundering measures, prosecutions, and other tools, The Sentry aims to disrupt the profit incentives for mass atrocities and oppression, and creates new leverage in support of peace efforts and African frontline human rights defenders. The Sentry’s partner, the Enough Project, undertakes high-level advocacy with policy-makers around the world as well as wide-reaching education campaigns by mobilizing students, faith-based groups, celebrities, and others. Co-founded by George Clooney and John Prendergast, The Sentry is an initiative of Not On Our Watch (NOOW) and the Enough Project. The Sentry currently focuses its work in South Sudan, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, and the Central African Republic.

In less than two years, The Sentry has created hard-hitting reports and converted extensive research into a large volume of dossiers on individuals and entities connected to grand corruption, violence, or serious human rights abuses. The investigative team has turned those dossiers over to government regulatory and law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and around the world, as well as to compliance officers at the world’s largest banks.

Learn more at www.TheSentry.org.