Elections in the Congo: Benchmarks for a Peaceful Transition

October 23, 2018
10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Less than two months away from presidential, legislative, and provincial elections, Congolese civil society and political actors have yet to build consensus on key technical aspects of the electoral process, such as the electronic voting machine and irregularities in the voter roll. In addition, the disqualification of two leading contenders, combined with security challenges in some provinces, further weakens Congolese’ confidence in what may well be the most important elections in the country’s history. Taking place just weeks before the official start of the campaign period, this panel discussion will examine the essential benchmarks for credible elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as the potential consequences if these benchmarks are not met.


Gérard Bisambu is the executive secretary of Acting for Transparent and Appeased Elections (AETA), DRC’s leading electoral platform of civil society organizations. An expert on issues of citizen participation and voter education, Gerard is also the Team Leader of the election thematic group within DRC’s civil society consultation framework. He is also a key member of the Coordinating Committee of the main consultation framework involving the independent national electoral commission (CENI) and civil society organizations. He holds a philosophy degree from the Catholic University of Congo, and an anthropology degree from the University of Kinshasa.

Jean Michel Mvondo Kafundji is a Kinshasa-based lawyer and the executive secretary of the Civic Education Network in Congo (RECIC), a collective of 28 grassroots organizations devoted to civic and electoral education. In addition to being a local governance specialist, Mr. Mvondo is an accredited BRIDGE election expert. He holds a law degree from the University of Kinshasa, and a certificate in decentralization and local governance from the University of Wegeningen in the Netherlands.

Sarah Gardiner is an investigative analyst at The Sentry, focusing on grand corruption. The Sentry, an initiative of The Enough Project, is a team of policy analysts, regional experts, and financial forensic investigators that follows the money in order to create consequences for those funding and profiting from genocide or other mass atrocities in Africa, and to build leverage for peace.

Rudy Howard Massamba is a program officer at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), where he oversees grants programs for several countries of Central Africa, including Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University, and a M.S. in International Affairs from Florida State University.