Transparency in Funding among Electoral Reforms Church Leaders in DRC Want Implemented

The headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) in DRC. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Transparency in the disbursement of funds is one of the electoral reforms that church leaders in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) want implemented ahead of general elections scheduled to take place in December this year.

In a joint report shared with ACI Africa Wednesday, May 17, members of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) and the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) also thank stakeholders involved in organizing the December 20 general elections.

The church leaders urge the government to “publish the plan for the disbursement of funds allocated to the electoral operations in order to reassure the public that the elections will be held on the scheduled date.”

They also want the Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo-led government to “take all its responsibilities so that the compatriots who are affected by insecurity, particularly in the provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and Maï-Ndombe, have the opportunity to vote for their leaders.”

In the report dated May 15, which is a fruit of the joint CENCO-ECC observation mission on the identification and registration of voters in the Central African nation, the church leaders urge the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to “convene, as a matter of urgency, a framework for consultation on the major problems surrounding the electoral register.”


They also want CENI members to “return the answers to the form submitted by the CENCO-ECC.”

CENI members should also “stick to the principle of the audit of the electoral register by an independent international organization with the obligation that the latter associate some national experts, within the appropriate time frame,” CENCO and ECC members add.

The church leaders also want CENI “to publish the statistics of the enrolled persons by constituency and by registration center to allow the public to have the traceability on all the persons registered on their respective electoral lists.”

They further call upon the leadership of political parties and politicians in DRC to “recruit, train, accredit their agents and deploy them wherever the electoral operations take place in order to contribute to poll transparency.”

The CENCO and ECC members urge politicians to also “continue to sensitize their citizens to take ownership of the electoral process through civic education in order to guarantee its legitimacy.”

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They invite technical and financial partners to “accompany peace initiatives in order to allow all Congolese to participate in the electoral process”, as well as offer their contribution in “facilitating the work of the electoral observation missions, whose monitoring is crucial for credibility.”

In June 2021, church leaders in DRC recommended that in the composition of CENI, civil society members constitute the majority.

On May 5, Catholic Bishops in DRC called on the leadership of CENI to seek the expertise of “an independent body with experience” alongside “a few national experts” to audit the country’s voter register.

In the May 15 report, members of ECC and CENCO note with satisfaction that “the Central Electoral Office has published the electoral calendar for the current electoral cycle, and has extended the period of identification and voter registration in all areas.”

In the report, the church leaders condemn the “circulation of sensitive electoral materials in the hands of individuals who are not qualified to do so.”


They also lament “the absence of the publication of statistics on the number of people enrolled in all operational areas.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.