Around 43.9m Congolese register to vote in December election

Tuesday May 23 2023
drc polls

An anti-government demonstrator wears a Democratic Republic of Congo flag during a riot, after security forces broke up an attempted demonstration over alleged irregularities in voter registration for the upcoming December elections, in Kinshasa, DRC on May 20, 2023. PHOTO | REUTERS | JUSTIN MAKANGARA


Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has registered around 43.9 million voters for general elections in December compared to 40.4 million in the previous poll, it said on Monday, with some among the opposition alleging irregularities.

Political tension is on the rise in the DRC ahead of December 20 polls in which President Felix Tshisekedi is expected to seek a second term.

Security forces fired tear gas on anti-government protests over the weekend as demonstrators echoed opposition candidates' complaints of delays and alleged anomalies in the run-up to the vote.

The demonstrators in the country of over 95 million were also angry about rising living costs and spiralling violence in the east, where armed militia groups wrangle over land and mineral resources.

Insecurity has made it impossible to register voters in several areas. CENI has said it is seeking solutions to enrol them.

Read: Tshisekedi says unrest in east could disrupt polls


Opposition leaders have reacted sceptically to the enrolment figure, noting that the commission appointed its own auditors to review the figures over five days.

The International Organisation of La Francophonie, which carried out the audit of the last registration process in 2018, refused to cooperate with the CENI this year due to the five-day timeframe.

A CENI official who did not wish to be named said the audit was meticulous and thorough.