With only a few days to go, the Congolese elections on Monday 28 November could turn into chaos, with many polling stations not having received ballot boxes, ballots or voting instructions. What’s worse: people don’t even know where to vote.
By Anneke Verbraeken, Goma
Yesterday Radio Netherlands visited five polling stations in North and South Kivu provinces. Not one of the stations had received ballot boxes, ballots or instructions for voters. Two stations did not even have the voters lists, which should have been published two weeks ago.
Adding to the confusion is the location of the polling stations. In one village there was one station for voter registration, but the actual voting will take place in four – different – polling stations. The stations are miles away from one another. Since people have not been told where to vote, they will have to find out themselves. A time consuming task, and virtually impossible for the old and weak.
In the village of Pinga 5000 people were registered as a voter, but only 2.400 appear on the lists. There’s also talk of ‘ghost stations’, which appear on the lists of the national electoral committee CENI, but in reality don’t exist.
All this leads many people to believe that these elections will not be free and fair, but are in fact a gigantic fraudulent exercise to keep the incumbent president, Joseph Kabila, in power.