The National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) launched on 31 July 2016 the voters’ registration in the DRC, starting it as a pilot in the province of North-Ubangi, in the north-western parts of the country, before scaling it nationwide.

As a testament to the effective launch of the process, CENI President, Corneille Nangaa, symbolically handed a voter’s card to a registered voter in the presence of government authorities and the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC.

He said this “marks the beginning of a process that will spread across the country and culminate in the holding of polls expected by all in the DRC”.

The electoral body head further underscored that “it will take 16 months to complete voters’ registration” in the vast country. He promised that CENI will soon publish the full elections calendar.

To assist with logistics, the Congolese government availed to CENI 60 trucks and 10 pick-ups from the country’s armed forces. Meanwhile, the UN Mission in the DRC, MONUSCO, expressed its readiness to support to the Congolese government for the successful implementation of the electoral process and encouraged the electoral body to implement a transparent and credible way for the elections.

The sixteen months to complete voters’ registration will de facto delay polls beyond December 2016, which the opposition considers as a deliberate move to enable Kabila, 45, to extend his stay in power.

He has ruled the DRC since his father assassination in 2001.