INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Drc Elections Sitrep 1

Published: Sat 29 Jul 2006 06:10 PM
VZCZCXRO4830
PP RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHKI #1209/01 2101810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291810Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4490
INFO RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KINSHASA 001209
SIPDIS
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM KPKO CG ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: DRC ELECTIONS SITREP 1
REF: KINSHASA 1208
1. (U) The Democratic Republic of Congo remains largely calm
on the eve of the July 30 presidential and legislative
elections. A few isolated security incidents have taken place
in Kinshasa and Mbuji Mayi in the past day, but they have not
kept election workers nationwide from completing last-minute
preparations for tomorrow's vote. Across the country,
potential voters continue to express their desire to head to
the polls, indicating the potential for a heavy turnout,
particularly outside Kinshasa. The security presence in
Kinshasa itself was evident, with several MONUC armored
patrols circulating in the downtown area, in addition to a
noticeable Congolese police presence.
2. (U) Official political campaigning ended at midnight July
28, with rallies and demonstrations prohibited the weekend of
the election. Candidates appear to be abiding by that
regulation, as election observers throughout the country
report that no public political activity is taking place. In
downtown Kinshasa, streets that until yesterday were
completely covered by campaign propaganda have returned to
their pre-campaign appearance, as candidates voluntarily took
down their posters and banners so as not to be in violation
of the law. (Note: There is no provision in the DRC's
electoral law, however, which states that propaganda had to
be removed after the campaign deadline passed. End note.)
3. (U) Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, who is
leading the USG election observation mission, met in Kinshasa
with CEI President Abbe Apollinaire Malu Malu and the heads
of several international observation missions. A/S Frazer
spoke with the CEI president regarding the Commission's work
in preparing for the election as well as its plans to manage
the post-election period, including the announcement of
results and the calendar for the second round of voting later
this year. Members from several international observation
missions, including the European Union, provided A/S Frazer
with an overview of their assessments concerning logistical
aspects of the electoral process and efforts at voter
education. In addition, A/S Frazer spoke with members of the
international and Congolese press regarding the elections.
4. (U) Workers with the Independent Electoral Commission
(CEI) spent the day feverishly preparing polling stations,
setting up voting booths and making last-minute deliveries of
election materials to the more than 50,000 voting sites. In
the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu, as well as
Ituri District, the majority of polling stations visited by
EmbOffs appeared to be ready for the July 30 vote, with voter
lists clearly displayed and voter kits ready to be
distributed. Some polling sites, though, did not appear as
well-prepared, but CEI workers said they were expecting
materials to arrive later in the day. In Goma, PolCouns
reported that all voting stations have received their ballots
and other essential materiel, although many were missing
desks and chairs. CEI workers in Goma, however, said they
have not yet been paid, despite having been told they were to
receive their stipend from the CEI this weekend. CEI
officials in Kinshasa said they are aware of the problem and
have today sent payments to Goma and other locations where
workers have not been paid. Nearly all poll workers EmbOffs
met, however, were in good spirits, saying they would show up
for work tomorrow out of civic duty, even if they had not
received their salaries.
5. (U) An inter-institutional meeting (comprised of the
institutions of the transitional government) was held July 29
in Kinshasa, although three of the DRC's four vice presidents
did not attend. While President Joseph Kabila and Vice
President Abdoulaye Yerodia appeared, Vice Presidents
Jean-Pierre Bemba and Azarias Ruberwa did not. During the
meeting, Malu Malu presented a timetable leading to the next
round of elections with the possible date of October 29 for
the next round of voting for provincial assemblies and, if
necessary, a second round of presidential balloting. The CEI
released July 28 the final list of 13,478 provincial assembly
candidates, and Malu Malu is expected the make a public
announcement regarding the date for the second round of
elections later this evening. A planned meeting of the
"Espace Presidentiel," which had been planned the
inter-institutional session, was canceled since Bemba and
Ruberwa were not in attendance, although members present
emphasized the importance for the "Espace" to meet the week
following elections.
6. (U) A few isolated security incidents have been reported
KINSHASA 00001209 002 OF 002
across the country in the last day, none of which have
considerably disturbed the electoral process. On July 29 in
Mbuji Mayi, a CEI truck (which reportedly did not have a
police escort) carrying 134 electoral kits was attacked and
burned. CEI officials said, though, that no ballots were
destroyed in the fire, and replacement equipment is being
flown immediately to the city. MONUC-Mbuji Mayi Head of
Office Mamady Kouyate said it is not yet known who is
responsible for the attack. Kouyate also said anonymous
leaflets appeared in Mbuji Mayi July 28 threatening anyone
who attempted to vote. In Kinshasa, an unmanned drone from
the European Union Force (EUFOR) on a test mission crashed
the evening of July 28 while attempting to land at a local
airport. The drone reportedly crashed into a house which
caught on fire, resulting in four wounded. Also in Kinshasa
on July 28, security guards belonging to Vice President
Ruberwa were shot at by elements of the presidential guard on
the outskirts of the city. One of Ruberwa's guards was
reportedly killing during the incident. In a press conference
the evening of July 28, Ruberwa condemned the attack, but
appealed to his followers to remain calm.
7. (U) In response to the security incidents in Kinshasa on
July 27 (reftel), the International Committee to Accompany
the Transition (CIAT) issued a communique July 28 condeming
the perpetrators responsible the violence, which included the
looting of the offices of the High Media Authority, the
National Observatory for Human Rights, as well as several
police stations. The CIAT saluted the courage and
self-control of the Congolese police in the face of such acts
and encouraged police officials to continue their work with
determination and professionalism.
MEECE
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