Twenty-four hours after his shocking declaration, Minister of the Budget, Pierre Kangudia, returned to what he exactly meant in his speech. The version of the facts reported by the Minister of State this time explains a little better his statements of the previous day. But to hear him well, the minister lacked tact to answer the trick question posed by the journalist during the face-to-face with the press held on Wednesday, February 15. Playing ping-pong with the press is not a walk in a park.
« I was referring to the financial situation of the state when we took office. There was never any mention of elections or election financing. I spoke about the state budget for 2017 and the financial situation in general, « explained the budget minister during an interview with Top Congo. « I NEVER EVER spoke about holding elections this year or not, » he insists.
Pierre Kangudia said that the question was whether the government could disburse $ 1.8 billion this year, given the « low » state revenues. In response, the minister assured that with this year’s budget estimates it was not possible to release all that money in a single year, especially not the current one.
Let us reflect on the matter
If we look carefully, the minister has for a moment forgotten that the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was already redrawing the electoral rolls; but to begin these operations, the state has released funds. The member of the government who was supposed to enlighten his interlocutor, agreed with this, as if the CENI had done nothing so far, nor had anything received from the government to begin the electoral process. This has earned him the wrath of several political actors.
Among the reactions, the CENI reporter also went back this morning to the controversy brought up by the Minister of State, Pierre Kangudia. « Whether the government has the money or not, now CENI is busy making up an important element for any election, the electoral register, with the funds that the government has endowed us, » said the reporter of the electoral commission Jean-Pierre Kalamba and continued, « I do not know under what terms the minister comes to tell us that they are not able to mobilize $ 1.8 billion. To my best knowledge, the CENI has never claimed this sum for a fiscal year, it finalizes its budget which is triennial « .
The basket fund
By organizing the elections, the Democratic Republic of the Congo involves its partners, or the latter come to support them in order to lighten the burden of the process. This is called the « Basket Fund » or the common Fund to finance election support. This assistance estimated or cost in cash, is given in equipment, logistical means, transport … In 2011, South Africa, for instance, took care of a good part (if not all) of prints such as ballots, even the ballot boxes.
As for the current electoral process, Monusco has already helped CENI to transport equipment in areas that are difficult to access. Shuttles and other related services that would have cost the United Nations and its donors more than 70 million US dollars at this stage. Britain and other DRC partners in the European Union have recently expressed their willingness to support it in the elections scheduled for the end of 2017. This implies that the DRC government will not release the entire amount requested by the electoral commission to hold the elections.
In any case, this government, the BADIBANGA government, which is under an infusion pumped to it thanks to the provisional credit, may not have time to pass a budget law for the year 2017. The government of broad national unity is expected in the next few days with the signature of the particular arrangement on the side of CENCO.