Reactions are beginning to pour in after the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) released on Monday a timetable for all upcoming elections in the DRC until 2013.
The IEC released its schedule even though President Joseph Kabila signed a law last month creating a new body to oversee the electoral process in the DRC, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which will replace the IEC once its members are elected.
The New Congolese Civil Society (NSCC) accused the IEC of a "power grab.” “We do not understand how the IEC, which is now tasked with taking care of ongoing business, can claim the power to set the electoral timetable. They are rushing to set the timetable when the electoral law has not been finalized,” said the head of the NSCC, Jonas Tshiombela, in an interview with the daily newspaper Le Potentiel on Tuesday.
He added that “the IEC has no authority to set the electoral timetable, since the law establishing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has already been signed."
Joseph Mukendi, a member of the political leadership of the opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), said that “the priority should be on setting up the INEC and passing the electoral law in Parliament, and then the INEC can set the electoral timetable.”
Opposition MP Jean-Claude Vuemba told Le Potentiel that "it is inconceivable that, despite the signing of the law on the INEC, the IEC continues to act as if nothing had happened.”
The ruling majority has a different reading of the timetable released by the IEC. “The electoral process is irreversible. We cannot wait until the INEC is in place. We have to work with the structures we have now. The INEC will simply continue the electoral process,” said the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Alliance of the Presidential Majority (AMP), Louis Koyagialo.