The United States of America salutes the efforts of all stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support an electoral process that is inclusive, transparent, peaceful, and reflective of the will of the Congolese people. We note the positive steps achieved at this stage of the cycle, including the certification of all 26 candidates by the Constitutional Court. We also note actions by authorities to uphold the freedom of movement of political candidates, as well as official condemnation of hate speech and attempted violence against presidential candidates.
Additional steps to ensure transparency will help build confidence in the process. We urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to ensure that printed and online versions of the final voter registration lists are accessible without delay so that all voters know where to vote on Election Day, and that problems related to the quality of voter cards are addressed so that no registered voters are disenfranchised. Well before election day, candidates, authorities, and the population also need a common understanding of how and when election results will be made available, both as required under Congolese law, as well as in response to stakeholder requests for maximum transparency.
It is also essential for the government to ensure an even playing field for all candidates, particularly with the launch of campaign season on November 19. This includes protecting freedoms of expression, movement, assembly, and the press – all critical pillars of an open electoral process. The government’s responsibility also extends to safeguarding the security of candidates during the campaign process and voters at polling places on election day.
Responsibility for free and fair polls, however, does not lie only with the authorities. We call again on all actors across the political spectrum to proactively diffuse tensions and promote a peaceful electoral process by condemning violence, harassment, and hate speech before, during, and after the elections. The United States will consider taking actions, including visa restrictions or other measures, against those undermining democracy in the DRC. This could include rigging of the electoral process, corruption, violent suppression of peaceful protests through force or intimidation of voters, or the abuse of human rights in the DRC. The Congolese people deserve to choose their own leaders freely through a credible and transparent process.