DRC: Presidential Campaign Observers Denounce Violations of Fundamental Freedoms

In the DRC, the candidates for the December 20 presidential election have been taking to the streets for sixteen days now to try to convince the 44 million voters. A campaign that may have provoked spillovers in some places: in recent days, several cases of torn portraits or effigies of candidates have been reported in North Kivu, Katanga and even Kinshasa.

Police officers are present at the campaign rally of Congolese presidential candidate Martin Fayulu in Goma, eastern DRC, on November 30, 2023. © ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP

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Torn portraits of candidates: this is what Symocel, a grouping of several election observation missions, evokes in a press release published this Monday morning, in the form of an assessment of the first days of the campaign. Symocel also warns against interference such as the ban on meetings or air slots for the movement of candidates.

Luc Lutala, national coordinator of Symocel, calls on all parties to exercise restraint. "It's a phenomenon that is obvious for people who reject one candidate or the other, in a very particular way, it happens for candidate Félix Tshisekedi, or for Moïse Katumbi in very few cases. We call on the Ministry of the Interior to secure the electoral process. One gets the impression that this department is really struggling to meet that obligation.



We also call on the political parties to sensitize their activists to tolerance, respect for fundamental freedoms, and we also call on the provincial authorities who limit and restrict the fundamental freedoms of candidates to enforce the law rather than act in this way, because by restricting fundamental freedoms, they are also the authors of the excitement of anger of the parties and supporters of one side or the other Luc Lutala told Gwendal Lavina.


Luc Lutala, National Coordinator of Symocel

Gwendal Lavina

ACAJ Reaffirms Confidence in Electoral Process

For its part, on Sunday 3 December, the Congolese Association for Access to Justice, ACAJ, published a statement in which it regretted the European Union's decision to cancel its election observation mission for the 20 December election. The ACAJ denounces the "silence" adopted by the EU mission, which risks comforting those who "think that the results of the next elections would be rigged in advance".

This is due to the use of satellite phones by European observers, which is not intended by the Congolese authorities. Despite these events, Joséphine Mbella, lawyer and interim executive delegate of the ACAJ, reaffirms her confidence in the electoral process.

« We believe in the good faith of the CENI [Editor's note: the Independent National Electoral Commission of the DRC] which, until now, has shown that it wants to organise free, transparent and credible elections, and that is precisely why the government has invited the European Union mission to come and participate. »


Me Joséphine Mbella, Lawyer and Interim Executive Delegate of the ACAJ

Gwendal Lavina


We hope that by then, we will have very good, transparent elections, and that we will move on to a new alternation, a peaceful transfer of power as was the case in 2018. So we stand by our position and say that there will be an election. This is the last corner. Everyone is campaigning at the moment, so we don't see why there would be some concerns, we are confident in the process and we will only wait for the results, as planned, in January 2024," says Joséphine Mbella.

Read alsoPresidential election in DRC: candidate Delly Sesanga withdraws in favor of Moïse Katumbi

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