Update on elections

I made a few slight mistakes on my previous elections posting –

A total of $98 million has been pledged so far to the electoral process through the Projet d’Appui au Cycle Electorale (PACE) office that is managed by UNDP in Kinshasa. Of that money, $77 million have already been made available. In addition, MONUSCO is currently budgeting for around $80 to $100 million in logistical support to electoral operations.

This does not include money going to NGOs for electoral education – the US government has given $4 million to IFES for this kind of work (although nothing, I believe, to the electoral operations themselves).

So we are better off that I had written with regards to the funding, but fears remain. The US government is making very little funding available for election monitoring, which is why groups such as NDI and Carter Center are having a hard time sending election observation missions. MONUSCO was never granted the additional electoral staff it had asked for and when the time for the new resolution comes in May it will be too late.

This was what one foreign diplomat in Kinshasa wrote me this last week:

Voter registration is so far free of too much fraud, although there are the usual complaints in certain areas that more registration centers are set up in one area or the other. The process is however very slow and the electoral specialists say that the process should be finished at least six months ahead of election day (the whole appeals process takes a long time). The CEI has distributed all the material, but training of their staff is lagging behind. The CENI has finally been accepted in its current composition and we are awaiting the presidential decree. With Pasteur Mulunda leading the show, we are in for a frustrating period.

On the political front, some of the EU members are currently arguing that, with the new rules of the game, their financial commitments will have to be renegotiated.