Protesters demand South Africa intervene in upcoming DRC elections


Congolese demonstrators oppose electronic voting machines

Photo of protesters
Congolese protesters in Cape Town expressed distrust over the use of electronic voting machines in the upcoming DRC general election. Photo: Vincent Lali

On Friday dozens of Congolese nationals marched to parliament and handed over a memorandum requesting that South Africa government object to the use of electronic voting machines in the general elections in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) scheduled for 23 December.

They also want President Joseph Kabila to step down before the elections. Marcher Andrew Kaya said: “We don’t want Kabila to contest the elections. If he is involved in the elections, they will get messed up. He must release all the political prisoners.”

Spokesperson for the protesters Christian Mapunya said, “The use of electronic voting machines is a major threat to a happy conclusion of the current electoral process that has brought so much hope to Congolese people all around the world for a better future and the possibility for us Congolese refugees in South Africa to return to our homeland.”

He said they wished to alert the South African government to the danger of a fraud-prone electoral process that will “add more violence and brutal killings of countless civilians”.

“We believe that South Africa, Botswana, and Angola can lead SADC efforts in the form of diplomatic and military interventions aimed at protecting and restoring democracy and the rule of law in the DRC,” he said.

Mapunya thanked South Africa for making attempts to ensure that a peaceful change does occur in DRC. “We are particularly pleased with the many efforts that the South African government is making to ensure that there is a democratic and peaceful change of power in our homeland,” he said.

Marcher Pitshou Bay said, “We want Ramaphosa to teach Kabila democracy.”

Marcher Didier Mboyo said, “We can’t stay in South Africa forever. We want to go home to our families.”

The marchers addressed their request to the Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete. Procedural advisor in Parliament, Victor Ngaleka, received the memorandum. “I will hand the memorandum to the parliamentary speaker who will ensure that it is processed,” he said.

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