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Cablegate: Progress Report On Electoral Commission's Timeline

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. Immediately following the February 2-4
Inter-Institutional Seminar, the DRC's Independent Electoral
Commission published an electoral timeline highlighting the
need to provide the CEI with increased office and storage
space, and to begin identifying voting registration centers
by the end of February. The CEI's goal is to pressure the
GDRC into action by assigning specific tasks and dates. The
results thus far have been mixed as the GDRC is moving more
slowly than hoped. End Summary.

2. (U) Following the "Inter-Institutional Seminar" held in
Kinshasa February 2-4 (reftel) the Independent Electoral
Commission (CEI) issued a press statement that included a
timeline of tasks to be undertaken by various government
entities. This timeline called on the GDRC to make office
space for the CEI available throughout the country to permit
the deployment of electoral workers, and begin identifying an
estimated 9,000 voter registration centers. The CEI stated
that it would work urgently to accomplish these tasks by the
end of February 2005. Other tasks, including the adoption of
a constitutional law by parliament and debate on GDRC funding
for elections, are projected for the month of March and will
be covered septel.

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Some Progress Increasing CEI's Access to Office Space
--------------------------------------------- --------

3. (SBU) Poloff met the Chief of Cabinet to the CEI's
President, Flavien Misoni, on February 23 to discuss the
status of these tasks. The CEI is currently discussing with
the GDRC use of the National Congolese Radio and Television
(RTNC) office tower in Kinshasa as the site for its national
headquarters. This tower has been in disrepair for a number
of years and needs work, especially with the elevators.
According to Misoni, European Union and UNDP officials are
currently evaluating the costs of repairs. Despite the fact
that the building is also occupied by Special Presidential
Security Guards (GSSP), Misoni feels this is the best
alternative available and thinks that the CEI can create a
separate entrance to avoid contact with the GSSP. Misoni said
the GDRC is also making available a set of large
government-owned warehouses in Kinshasa where the CEI can
store voter registration and election materials. These
buildings will also need some work and the removal of
homeless people who have taken refuge there. Misoni said both
the RTNC and the warehouses could be available within 4
weeks, i.e. the end of March. The CEI plans to move in and
start using the buildings even as repair work is being

4. (U) The temporary building housing the CEI in Kinshasa has
also been provided with many trailers that will be used by
the UNDP unit working on the procurement of voter
registration materials. Extensive work is being done to make
the trailers operational within a matter of days. According
to Misoni, the new location of UNDP officials will allow them
to coordinate more efficiently with the CEI. UNDP envisions
eventually co-locating its technical experts at the new CEI
headquarters, together with those of the EU and other donors
(such as those supported by USAID).

5. (U) Nationwide, the CEI has opened offices in the capitals
of all 11 provinces and is currently in the process of
searching for suitable buildings for the 64 remaining
provincial liaison offices. According to Misoni, over 50% of
these buildings have already been selected, but most of them
need some refurbishing before they become operational. The
President of the CEI has begun a direct
information/communication campaign traveling to Bandundu the
week of February 20.

Registration Centers Identified in Theory

6. (U) Misoni said the CEI, in collaboration with provincial
authorities, has identified on paper most of the 9,000 voting
registration centers needed. The next task will be to send
officials to inspect these buildings, most of which are
expected to be schools, hospitals, and other public
facilities. Each of these centers is expected to serve
approximately 3,111 voters (for a total of 28 million).
According to Misoni, the CEI seeks to overcome the problem of
limited infrastructure by locating registration centers in
locations where people already gather for religious,
commercial, or cultural activities.

7. (SBU) The CEI's main motivation for assigning specific
tasks and dates is to pressure GDRC institutions into action.
CEI representatives have acknowledged that the dates are
ambitious, but they characterize their timeline as a
"flexible working document" meant to get all actors to take
concrete action and to share responsibilities for organizing
the elections. Ultimately, the CEI depends on the GDRC for
access to office and storage space and for its operating
budget. To the extent that the GDRC has already taken some
specific actions to assist the CEI in this regard, the
Commission's strategy appears to be working, albeit more
slowly than hoped.

8. (U) Bujumbura minimized considered.

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