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Strike Cripples Voter Registration in DRC

Joseph Kabila President of the DRC (file photo)

The deputy governor of North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] says his provincial government has begun talks with striking poll workers to address their concerns over payment and logistical constraints.

Feller Lutaichirwa said the regional administration is also working closely with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo [MONUSCO.] to provide adequate security.

The effort comes on the heels of rebel attacks that have affected the ongoing voter registration.

“We will have a big meeting and maybe we will find some solutions about this problem,” said Lutaichirwa.

Some residents in the capital Goma and other surrounding areas have demanded the resignation of North Kivu Governor Julien Paluku Kahongya. They accuse him of unfulfilled pledges including failure to combat growing insecurity in the province.

The striking poll officials in the province have another complaint. They accuse the Independent National Electoral Commission [CENI] of failing to pay their salaries for the last two months. They have vowed to continue their strike until they are paid.

Some civic society groups in Beni territory have also complained about the lack of registration forms, which they say is causing delays in the voter registration process.

Lutaichirwa said his provincial government aims to come up with plans to resolve challenges facing the administration.

“We have to put on some mechanisms and some evaluations to see how to improve the situation,” Lutaichirwa said.

Both the DRC government and MONUSCO blame rebels from the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda [FDLR] for the attacks in North Kivu.

The government recently signed a memorandum of understanding with MONUSCO for the UN Mission to provide support to the electoral commission.