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October 18, 2011

DRC Governors Meet to Bolster Security for Next Month’s Elections

by Peter Clottey

An official of the Democratic Republic of Congo government said provincial governors across the country are scheduled to meet today (Thursday) to find ways of ensuring the November 28 general elections are peaceful.

Information minister Lambert Mende said the conference will enable participants to share ideas about ensuring Congolese are protected during the vote. The conference will be held in the town of Kikwit in the Western part of the country.

“The meeting will also involve traditional chiefs who have been called in order to exchange experiences and take measures to maintain peaceful electoral process,” said Mende.

Official campaigning is scheduled to begin October 28, ahead of the November vote.

Nearly 30,000 poll observers complete their training today in a program sponsored by the US-based Carter Center and the Catholic Church in the DRC.

Mende said Kinshasa has appealed to both local and international groups to help monitor the vote and further ensure its transparency.

“We have asked all the NGO’s, all our foreign and national partners and even political parties to start training their people so that the [poll] observation could be as large as possible,” he said.

Some political parties have expressed concern their opponents are breaking electoral rules by launching campaigns far ahead of the official starting date.

Mende said Congolese as well as political parties are anxious to participate in the November elections. He said the government will bolster security in the run up to the vote.