Bukavu, 6 April 2011 – The registration of prospective voters, which kicked off in South Kivu on 2 April 2011, is progressing at a very slow pace, observers say. After five days into the process, more than 50 per cent of the registration centres were still not operational.
If the 37 registration centres in Bukavu, capital of Sud Kivu, and all 28 centers in Kabare, have been functioning according to expectations, the same could not be said for the rest of the province.
For example, only one out of seven registration centres has opened in Idjwi territory, and just three out of 34 in Kalehe. Likewise, 34 out of 76 planned centres have opened in Mwenga, while five out of 21 are functioning in Fizi, and 26 out of 51 in Uvira. In Walungu, out of 35 centers only eight are open, and in Shabunda, the ratio is one in 15.
The situation is compounded by delays or non-payment of dues to registration staff who are responsible for the deployment and distribution of voting material in the various centres.
MONUSCO’s Electoral section in South Kivu helped transport 78 tons of electoral kits and 12,000 liters of fuel to the 29 training centres, comprising 1,267 staff for the Electoral Commission in Sud Kivu. The distribution of the electoral kits as well as other voting materials in all 303 registration centres across the province is the primary responsibility of the Electoral Commission.
Recent decisions to expedite payments related to the deployment of staff and the distribution of voting material are likely to accelerate the registration process in Sud Kivu. With the date of elections approaching fast, this process needs a jump-start as a matter of urgency.
Alain Likota/ MONUSCO