Elections in the DRC: Towards a withdrawal of the European Union observers?

The European Union Monitoring Mission still does not have full authorisations to use its communications equipment in the DRC. The situation is becoming critical, according to some European chancelleries, given the relatively tight deadlines and the many operations to be covered by the mission. Discussions are said to be ongoing and a withdrawal of the mission is not excluded.

During the presentation of the European Union Observation Mission for the general elections in the DRC, on November 21, 2023 in Kinshasa. © Paulina Zidi/RFI

By: RFI Follow


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Several European diplomatic sources confirm that discussions are underway: "Nothing has been decided one way or the other, but there is a big problem," said a diplomat in Kinshasa. It is therefore exchanges between Kinshasa and Brussels that must decide the future of the European Union's observation mission, explains our special envoy in Kinshasa, Paulina Zidi.

At the heart of the blockade was the deployment of communications equipment, including satellite phones, while the first teams of the mission were to be deployed in the country. Arriving on 17 November, some forty long-term observers spent a few days in the capital in training. They were then scheduled to travel to 17 of the country's 26 provinces. And on the day of the vote, the EU must have nearly a hundred people on the ground.

Congolese government says it was informed late

Tuesday was seen as a deadline by some European chancelleries, for which beyond this deadline, the mission could hardly be set up. Despite these concerns, the Congolese authorities are taking a more level-headed stance, reports our correspondent in Kinshasa, Patient Ligodi.

Peter Kazadi, deputy prime minister and interior minister, told RFI that he had only been informed of the situation on Monday. On the same day, he had exchanges with members of the European Union delegation as well as with some observers. According to him, the details of the equipment in question were only transmitted on Monday, specifying that the specifications of this equipment had to be known and validated by the Congolese services. He announced a new working meeting on the subject on Wednesday. "This is a question of responsibility, sovereignty and above all security for everyone," a source at the presidency of the Republic also confided.

A decision on the future of this mission is expected to be announced soon. An official statement that should not come from the teams in Kinshasa, but from the office of Josep Borrell, head of European diplomacy.

Read alsoDRC: the "Citizen Perspective" observation mission is organized in the run-up to the elections

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