The Carter Center has election observers standing by for Sunday’s elections in the DRC. Co-director of the center’s Kinshasa office Colin Stewart is in spoke to VOA English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the Carter Center’s mission there.
“Our observers are now fully deployed throughout the country. It’s an immense country, as you know. We have an average of two teams in every province of the country. Because of the tremendous logistical challenge, these are probably the most difficult elections that we’ve ever observed. We had to deploy our people well ahead of time to make sure they were in place for the election. And they will be staying in the field through the calculation process, which is estimated to take up to two weeks,” he says.
As for the security situation leading up to Sunday’s elections, Stewart says, “We’re always very careful about the security situation. There’s nothing that has come up recently to suggest that the threat has increased. Generally, the security situation in the Congo has been improving in recent months. There have been a number of incidents, including one yesterday (Thursday), but they tend to be isolated and limited. And there’s nothing to suggest to us that there’s going to be more generalized trouble. But of course the security of our observers is always our top priority.”
The Carter Center will issue a report on the DRC elections on whether the poll was free and fair. Stewart says, “That’s one of the key things that we will be doing. We will issue a preliminary report on what we have observed about two days after the election. We will follow that up as necessary, as events develop. And then we will ultimately issue a comprehensive final report well after the elections going into the details of all the different aspects of the election and our recommendations for improvements.”