The Democratic Republic of the Congo or DRC has been a hotbed for politics and health issues for a long time as you will read in the UN Document below. This African country has seen its fair share of viral epidemics and other health issues. While most of the world was dealing with the Covid19 pandemic the DRC had to deal with an Ebola outbreak before they could consider what was happening with the number of people infected with the SARS-Cov-2 virus. After all, Ebola is more dangerous and life-threatening. The political environment in the same country is unstable and can be very dangerous if you are not a heterosexual male. When it comes time for an election women are discouraged from voting and every effort is made to discount the female vote in favour of the male vote being the dominating opinion. Gender-based discrimination is a way of life.
United Nations Security Council Press Release
- The reporting period was marked by the beginning of voter registration for the 2023 general elections, escalating tensions between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda and continued regional efforts to address insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
- Preparations for the general elections continued. On 24 December, the Independent National Electoral Commission launched the voter registration process, targeting 50 million potential voters in three operational zones. On 13 March, the Commission announced the registration of 70 per cent of expected voters, at least half of whom are women. The security situation has challenged voter registration in conflict areas in the three eastern provinces. Voter registration was delayed in the Kwamouth territory of Mai-Ndombe Province owing to persistent insecurity following the intercommunal violence in 2022 between the Teke and Yaka communities. On 27 February, during his address to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the President, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi, acknowledged that the security situation in the east could jeopardize the electoral process. Voter registration was scheduled to end on 17 March.
- The Front commun pour le Congo (FCC), one of the main opposition political groupings, adopted a boycott stance towards the electoral process, claiming the absence of a consensual legal and institutional framework and security conditions; on 13 March, it called for the immediate suspension of voter registration. On 16 December, the leader of the Ensemble pour la République political party, Moïse Katumbi, announced his candidacy for the presidential election. The announcement S/2023/208 2/18 23-04586 triggered the resignation of three out of the six ministers from his party’s quota on 28 December. On 20 February, declared presidential candidates Martin Fayulu and Moïse Katumbi denounced the voter registration as flawed in favour of the ruling majority, decrying registration site imbalance in favour of the Kasai region to the detriment of Grand Katanga.
- On 28 December, Mr. Tshisekedi enacted the 2023 Finance Law, with a budget amounting to $16 billion, an increase of 45.9 per cent compared with the previous year, including $434 million for the elections. The International Monetary Fund revised upward to 8.5 per cent the growth of the 2022 gross domestic product of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, thanks to stronger-than-expected mining production. The International Monetary Fund estimated, however, that the overall fiscal situation of the country had deteriorated as extrabudgetary military spending had increased significantly.
- On 6 December, the third round of consultations under the Nairobi process concluded in Nairobi. Over 200 delegates representing armed groups, civil society, women and youth from North and South Kivu, Ituri, Maniema and Tanganyika participated in the consultations. Participants agreed, inter alia, on the need to encourage synergy between the local development programme of the 145 territories and the Disarmament, Demobilization, Community Recovery and Stabilization Programme. They also highlighted the need to create holistic care centres for survivors of sexual violence and a network of women peace mediators, at the territorial level, to support the local political processes designed to create a conducive environment for disarmament.
- On 12 January, in Mombasa, Kenya, the Facilitator of the Nairobi process and former President of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, met with representatives of the Mouvement du 23 mars (M23), who agreed to a ceasefire and withdrawal of their forces from occupied territories by 15 January, in accordance with the Luanda communiqué of 23 November. Despite that announcement, M23 resumed its offensive operations with further territorial expansions across Masisi and Rutshuru territories.
- On 4 February, following an extraordinary summit in Bujumbura, East African Community Heads of State called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties and violations to be reported to the Chairperson of the East African Community. They observed that the security situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo could be sustainably resolved only through a political process, and called upon all troop-contributing countries of the East African Community regional force to deploy immediately. On 5 February, the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo released a communiqué, recalling that the mandate of the regional force was “unequivocally offensive” and denouncing the lack of implementation of the Luanda process. In the communiqué, it rejected calls for direct and unconditional negotiations with M23 and reiterated that the only political framework supported by the Government was the Luanda road map.
- From 5 to 9 February, Mr. Tshisekedi travelled to the Congo, Angola, South Africa and the Comoros, where he met with his counterparts to discuss insecurity in the eastern provinces of the country. On 17 February, on the margins of the thirty – sixth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, a special summit of the East African Community Heads of State, extended to Angola, endorsed new timelines for the M23 withdrawal from all occupied positions covering the period from 28 February to 30 March. On 17 February, the Secretary-General attended a summit of Heads of State of the African Union Peace and Security Council on the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, during which the Peace and Security Council endorsed the decisions of the East African Community special summit, condemned attacks against MONUSCO and called upon all parties to S/2023/208 23-04586 3/18 implement the decisions of the Luanda and Nairobi processes. The Peace and Security Council also welcomed the deployment of the East African Community regional force and decided to finance it through the Peace Fund of the African Union. On 10 March, Angola announced the upcoming deployment, subject to authorization by the National Assembly, of an Angolan contingent to eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo to secure the M23 cantonment sites and protect the members of the ad hoc verification mechanism.
- On 27 February, the Secretary-General met with Mr. Tshisekedi and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on the margins of the fifty – second session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva to discuss insecurity in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and its humanitarian consequences, as well as cooperation between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and MONUSCO. 11. From 31 January to 3 February, Pope Francis visited Kinshasa, where he engaged with Mr. Tshisekedi, representatives of religious denominations, victims of conflict and youth. The Pope denounced conflict-related violence, the illicit exploitation of natural resources, hate speech and corruption. He called for peace, reconciliation and the holding of free, transparent and credible elections
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