Supporting dialogue between civil society organizations on the electoral process

18. 07. 13
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Supporting dialogue between civil society organizations on the electoral process


DAY 1: 48 participants


"Supporting the dialogue between civil society organizations to harmonize the opinion on the holding of elections with or without a transition period in the DRC", such is the theme of the three-day workshop that the Research Center for Social Action (CEPAS) has just started on Monday May 14, 2018, in the twin rooms Henri de Decker and Léon de Saint Moulin of CEPAS

First, the context of the workshop...

            The Director of CEPAS began by presenting the rational for this reflection workshop: a sombre socio-political and economic Congolese context. Stifling. Disappointing. Almost macabre ...

            Certainly, an electoral calendar has been published by the electoral commission, CENI, fixing the presidential and legislative elections to December 23, 2018. We are therefore, according to this calendar, only a few months away for elections to take place. The deadline is approaching too fast. But still amidst controversy, mutual suspicion, and lack of trust between the various stakeholders in the electoral process: Majority in power, opposition, and civil society.

            In such a context of sociopolitical sluggishness, what can civil society do in order to avoid being surprised by time like the last two years?

            It is in this sense that the Research Center for Social Action (CEPAS) designed this workshop to bring together, around the same table, different structures of civil society, representatives of the citizen movements and some researchers to reflect on the electoral process and the socio-political situation prevailing in the country.

            Before this workshop, CEPAS submitted a questionnaire to political actors (Majority and Opposition) to gather their opinions on the current electoral process. Their answers reveal two main theses: elections on December 23, 2018 (thesis 1) and elections after a transition period with / without Kabila (thesis 2).

            The participants in the CEPAS workshop will therefore have to analyze in depth the two theses and identify all the consequences (legal / social / political / security). For what purpose? It is a matter for Congolese civil society to re-claim the electoral process and stop being held hostage by the minority of politicians who mostly operate with hidden agendas.

            "The DR Congo is a patrimony common to all Congolese," as rightly repeats Le Potentiel (Congolese Daily published in Kinshasa) on the frontispiece of each of its issues. It is therefore necessary that the Congolese civil society regain control of the situation to force and change, if necessary, the apocalyptic destiny that seems to loom on the horizon, if the political and civic will continues to desert the Congolese socio-political microcosm.

            CEPAS, which has just participated in the last African Think Tanks Forum in Accra (early May 2018), draws on the example shared by some Ghanaian civil society organizations who have done their best in order to foster democracy in the political behavior of their country. The aim is ultimately to constitute a common voice within civil society and to see how to positively influence the electoral process, showing, after analysis, where could we (logically) lead each of the aforementioned theses and how to avoid the worst.

            Clearly, if elections are to be held this year, what are the milestones to follow on the way to December 23? And when should we sound the alarm before it's too late? And, in case we have to go through a transition as some seem to recommend, what would be the (logical) consequences of such an approach?

What can we remember for the first day?

            The first day of the workshop, with about fifty key participants (including representatives of citizen movements and Pole Institute from Goma, Eastern DR Congo and some delegates from Lubumbashi), was a simple way markup to go to be sure to navigate the same wavelength. It all began with the explanation of the terms of reference and the rational of the workshop (Director of CEPAS), followed by the succinct presentation of the opinions of political actors on the electoral process (head of the development support sector of CEPAS) and the synthesis of the positions of the international community (head of the Research and Sociopolitical Animation sector of CEPAS).

            After this markup, the participants went through each thesis one after the other with the sub-points that go with it, expanding one or the other element, and eliminating some other elements. At the end of this exercise, two groups were formed to analyze the two theses separately: elections in December 2018 and transition with / without Kabila. This will be the subject of the second day.

Alain NZADI-a-NZADI, sj

Managing Director of  CEPAS and Chief Editor of Congo-Afrique review