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UN ‘Encouraged’ by Congolese Participation in Voter Registration Drive

Joseph Kabila President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, June 30 2010
Joseph Kabila President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, June 30 2010

The spokesman for the United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo [MONUSCO] says public participation is “strong” in the voter registration drive for presidential and legislative elections in late November.

Alexander Essome says MONUSCO is working to curb growing insecurity in some parts of the country in the run-up to the general elections.

“We have many different places where we have security concerns. For the past few days we have [heard of] many attacks on the local population and on humanitarian convoys around Nyazale. Our military is looking into [it] and is planning to increase patrols and [offer] military intervention in the area to ensure that the population is protected,” said Essome.

The Stabilization Mission itself has not witnessed any attacks by armed groups on unarmed civilians registering to vote, he said.

Julien Paluku, governor of north Kivu, has requested MONUSCO’s help, according to Essome.

“We need to support them logistically to transport to the hub and sub-hub all [voting] materials, and this costs MONUSCO around $80 million. There are some areas where we have transported these materials and the provincial independent commission was supposed to then take them from there to the villages,” said Essome.

“But, there are about nine villages that have [accessibility] difficulties. So they approached MONUSCO to assist them with logistical and military support for taking the materials there, because some armed groups are still giving trouble,” he added.

The DRC’s government recently signed a memorandum of understanding with MONUSCO, for the Stabilization Mission to provide support to the electoral commission for organizing the vote.

Essome said MONUSCO is hopeful more Congolese will participate in that country’s fledgling democracy.