DRC General Elections: Kinshasa Voting Day Disrupted

In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), presidential, legislative, provincial and partial communal elections are taking place on December 20, 2023. Delays and malfunctions have been reported in different parts of the DRC. Kinshasa, the country's capital, was no exception. This did not prevent thousands of Kinshasa residents from exercising their right to vote. Narrative.

Voters, election and law enforcement officials mobilized during the Congolese general elections of December 20, 2023, in Kinshasa. © RFI editing - AFP photos

By: David Kalfa Follow


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From our special correspondent in Kinshasa,


Give me the floor, I have too much to say! Fabrice, a 39-year-old bricklayer and musician, is one of Kinshasa's residents for whom the Congolese general elections have been a source of frustration and who want to express their anger on December 20. "It's a bad election! It was a bad election," the man who did not find his name on the electoral rolls told journalists.

Read also[To be relived] Elections in DRC: voting continues on Thursday for polling stations that could not open

In another centre in the capital, Gabriel, 30, sighs. Arriving at dawn, this bank agent lamented: "The CENI [Independent National Electoral Commission] had promised us that the elections would start at 6 a.m. This is a lack of seriousness on his part. Normally, these elections would have had to be postponed due to a lack of logistical resources and the like. They are doing what is called forcing.


For several weeks, the question of a possible postponement of these presidential, legislative, provincial and partial communal elections has been raised, between security problems in eastern DRC, logistical challenge in a country four times the size of France, and lack of funding. But for Patricio, 48, that debate shouldn't exist. "A true Congolese can't speak badly of the Congo," he said. The people who speak badly of the Congo and who criticize here and there are rather foreigners who would like this election to be sabotaged. When there's nothing! Everything has been put in order." The stylist says: "For me, everything worked very well to vote. There was a bit of a problem when we arrived in the morning. But now everything has been sorted out and we can do it without any problem.


« If this were our first election, that would be normal »

On Wednesday, many offices in Kinshasa did not open their doors at the scheduled times: 6 a.m. to 17 p.m. The fault, more often than not, is voting machines that are unavailable or not ready to work. A situation in which the CENI acknowledged "a delay in the start of voting operations, in a few polling stations spread throughout the country". She promised that "all voters who wish to do so will vote" and that polling stations that opened late will operate for 11 hours. As for the office that did not open its doors on Wednesday, they will do so on December 21, assured Denis Kadima, head of the CENI.

These arguments are unlikely to calm Espoir, 33 years old. Arriving at his place of enlistment at 6 a.m., this entrepreneur sighs: "I've had enough. I'm thinking about going home. I'm very tired. Imagine that you waited six hours, without eating. You tell yourself that you have to do your duty as citizens and then this happens... If this were our first election, that would be normal. But it's already the fourth and we're supposed to be experts. Yet, we end up with the same nonsense every election.


For its part, the Ministry of Communication tempered the difficulties of the day. While it "condemns the acts of vandalism observed [...] and listed throughout the national territory", the government "congratulated the Congolese people for having mobilised to participate in the elections which are generally taking place well throughout the national territory".

This enthusiasm does not seem to be shared by several leading figures in the opposition, including Denis Mukwege. In a statement, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate said he was "very concerned about the multiplication of serious dysfunctions and irregularities in the current election".

Read alsoElections in DRC: Congolese called to the polls for a crucial vote for the country

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  • Ground floor
  • Elections in the DRC