Harare — The European Union cancelled its election monitoring mission for the general elections scheduled for December 20 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, due to security concerns, Reuters reports.
Election observers were scheduled to be deployed around DR Congo on November 21; however, EU spokesperson Nabila Massrali reportedly said that they could not go due to security concerns, although they were already in Kinshasa.
In addition to fighting to tame a plethora of armed factions in its mineral-rich east, Africa's second-largest nation is experiencing high levels of tension in the run-up to regional, presidential, and parliamentary elections. During an opposition campaign event in the city of Kindu on Tuesday, November 28, a young activist was killed during a stone-throwing incident.
Opposition candidates also raised allegations of anomalies that benefited the ruling coalition during voter registration. This was refuted by the election commission.
On Wednesday, November 29, the DR Congo government and the election commission failed to provide a prompt response when contacted for comment. The EU said that it was discussing further alternatives with the government. This includes the Congolese authorities, such as the potential to keep an electoral specialists' mission to monitor the process from the capital.
Six opposition candidates in the country's presidential elections on December 20, warned of possible fraud and irregularities during the polls. The candidates include Nobel Peace Prize-winning gynaecologist Denis Mukwege and prominent opposition contender Martin Fayulu, who are citing deliberate anomalies that is casting doubt on the validity of the electoral roll. They called on the Constitutional Court to oversee the proceeding and have demanded that the electoral commission reveal the final voter list.