Press Release: Thousands protest nomination in defiance of stay-at-home orders in the Democratic Republic of Congo

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2020
For phone and virtual interviews contact
Lydia Andrews, Communications Manager
lydia@afjn.org | 847-772-2305

Washington, DC (Lire En Français) On Thursday July 9, thousands of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) citizens took to the streets in protest to the nomination of Mr. Ronsard Malonda to head the National Independent Election Commission (NIEC). In defiance of the government order forbidding protests due to the COVID-19 pandemic and organized by the Union for Democracy and Social Progress, the protesters came out in large numbers showing their disapproval of the system that had nominated Mr. Malonda who is currently the National Executive Secretary of the DRC NIEC.

“Coming out in the thousands, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, to protest Mr. Malonda shows that the Congolese are tired of electoral fraud.  They are risking their lives and possible arrest to save the soul of their country” said Ntama Bahati, policy analyst of the Africa Faith and Justice Network.  

The protesters are questioning the validity of the nomination since the DRC Parliament failed to follow the rules of nomination. They are calling on Parliament to rescind the nomination of Mr. Malonda. 

“The Parliament by not following the rules of nomination is undermining the Electoral Commission’s mission to support democratic processes and will lead to contested 2023 elections” said Bahati. “Moreover, for democracy’s sake, election-related matters must include the highest level of transparency.”  

Prior to being nominated there was no commission formed for vetting Mr. Malonda which is in clear violation of Parliament’s rules of nomination. It’s alleged  that electoral fraud was rampant throughout the 2018 DRC elections while Mr. Malonda served on the NIEC. Furthermore, the Commission’s report of the 2018 elections has not yet been evaluated by the Parliament which may identify areas of improvement, reduce future election fraud, and guarantee legitimate elections. 

“Electoral fraud has been a strategy for many African politicians to acquire power which they in turn use for self interests. It is essential for the DRC Parliament to rescind Mr. Malonda’s nomination and to ensure that the Congolese people have the opportunity to choose their leaders. Having leaders nominated as it was alleged during the 2018 DRC elections and with Mr. Malonda’s contested nomination, removes the Congolese from participation in the democatic process” said Bahati. 

Electoral fraud has historically been known to produce authoritarian regimes across the continent. Bad governance and corruption play a main role in the DRC’s underdevelopment, economic inequality, and oppression of the poor and vulnerable by a small elite, which include politicians. 

Read “Twenty Years Prison for Democratic Republic of Congo President’s Chief of Staff for Embezzlement”: https://afjn.org/twenty-years-prison-for-d-r-congo-presidents-chief-of-staff-for-embezzlement/.

Read “Coalition to Dept. of State: Democratic Republic of Congo’s Judiciary Reforms are Unconstitutional”: https://afjn.org/coalition-to-dept-of-state-drcs-judiciary-reforms-are-unconstitutional/

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The Africa Faith & Justice Network is a faith-based, non-partisan coalition of 29 US-based religious communities of men and women. Inspired by the Gospel and informed by Catholic Social Teaching, AFJN seeks to educate and advocate for just relations with Africa and to work in partnership with African peoples as they engage in the struggle for justice, peace, and the integrity of creation.
www.afjn.org

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Available for Phone and Virtual Interviews: 
Ntama Bahati, Africa Faith and Justice Network
bahati@afjn.org | (m) 847-334-3614 
Contact: Lydia Andrews, Communications Manager
lydia@afjn.org | (m) 847-772-2305

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