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DRC faces risk of violence and crisis as elections loom: ICG Report

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Joel Arnold

Nov 1, 2023

ICG warns of a badly-run election coupled with violence: A threat to DRC’s progress towards a more democratic future and economic stability1

The International Crisis Group (ICG) has warned that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is at risk of descending into violence and national crisis as it approaches the December elections.

The ICG report states that a badly-run election, coupled with violence that excludes many citizens from voting, could hinder the DRC’s progress towards a more democratic future and economic stability.

The report highlights challenges to smooth elections, including rising political tensions, logistical challenges, and transparency issues with the National Independent Electoral Commission. Additionally, fighting between government forces and insurgents in North Kivu and insecurity elsewhere pose risks. 

The enforcement of martial law in two eastern provinces, suppression of protests, and the potential for security forces to commit abuses during election campaigning are other concerns. The ICG also warns of clashes between party supporters, increased attacks by armed groups, and violent disputes at polling stations.

The report notes deteriorating security in parts of the country and a failure of the mineral boom to improve people’s lives. However, President Félix Tshisekedi has bolstered his position by adding political heavyweights to his coalition. 

While the last elections in 2018 marked a peaceful transition of power with Tshisekedi taking office, the ICG calls upon the international community to encourage the government and opposition to find compromises on contentious issues and stand ready to mediate if election results are contested, particularly influential African powers in Kinshasa and Western actors.

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