A non-governmental organization called the League of Electors, including the name of its vice-president in August 2003; whether this League is suspected of having confidential information from the president of the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) (April 2004) [RDC42634.FE]

During telephone interviews on 19 and 20 April 2004, a program manager from the League of Electors (Ligue des électeurs) provided the following information.

The League of Electors was founded on 30 April 1990. It is affiliated with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), which funds some of its programs, and it also receives financial support from an American non-governmental organization called the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The League of Electors works in civic education, particularly in the expression of democratic values and human rights. In anticipation of the 2005 elections, the League has already trained over a thousand independent observers.

The head office of the League of Electors is in Kinshasa; however, the League also has two regional offices, one in Kikwit, Bandundu, and the other in Kananga, western Kasaï. The national office in Kinshasa has 15 members. Paul Nsapu Mukulu and Sabin Banza are the president and vice-president, respectively. Mr. Banza has held this position since 1992. The Kikwit office has eight members and the Kananga office has ten.

The League works in partnership with other associations that are called [translation] “partner associations,” of which there are five per province, with about 50 throughout the country. Total membership is estimated to be several thousand. The partner associations are not members of the League of Electors. However, given the partnership, the League sometimes acts as a spokesperson for these associations. In addition, the League leaders can sometimes issue statements to prove that a person is a member of a certain organization with which the League is affiliated. The League is able to issue such statements because the majority of those organizations lack the technical and financial means and are located far away from the capital.

The program manager also said that his organization does not have and has never had ties with the Congolese Liberation Movement (Mouvement du libération du Congo, MLC). He added that the League of Electors has never been accused of holding confidential information provided by the MLC president.

With regard to the relations between the League of Electors and government authorities, the program manager pointed out that, in April 1998, the president and the vice-president of the League were arrested and detained by the authorities before being released a few months later. He added that, during that same period, Jean Marie Mutombo, a member of the national office, was required to go into exile in France, while another League member was threatened by the authorities while he was working in December 2001.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) pointed out that the League of Electors is among USAID’s partner organizations (United States n.d.). According to Societecivile.cd, the civil society Internet portal in RDC, the League of Electors, in partnership with other organizations, runs awareness campaigns on elections and trains electoral observers (24 Feb. 2004; 19 Oct. 2003).

Amnesty International’s 1999 report pointed out that Paul Nsapu and Sabin Banza, both leaders of the League of Electors, were arrested and detained in April 1998 when they were returning from a meeting at the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa (AI 1999). They were released without charge after being detained for four months (ibid.). The same human rights organization indicated that Jean Marie Mutombo Kabamba, also a League of Electors member, was forced into exile in France after soldiers went to his home and threatened to kill him (ibid. 23 Nov. 1998).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Amnesty International. 1999. Amnesty International Report 1999. http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aireport/ar99/afr62.htm [Accessed 20 Apr. 2004]

_____. 23 November 1998. “Democratic Republic of Congo: War Against Unarmed Civilians.” (AI Index: AFR 62/036/1998). http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGAFR620361998?open&of=ENG-364 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2004]

Ligue des électeurs, Kinshasa. 19 and 20 April 2004. Telephone interviews with the program manager.

Societecivile.cd. 24 February 2004. “Cérémonie de remise des brevets aux observateurs nationaux des élections.” http://www.societecivile.cd/node.php?id=1414 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2004]

_____. 19 October 2003. “Journée de sensibilisation sur les élections.” http://www.societecivile.cd/node.php?id=1004 [Accessed 20 Apr. 2004]

United States. n.d. United States Agency for International Development (USAID). “Partners Contacts.” http://www.usaid.gov/cg/contactpa.html [Accessed 20 Apr. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted


Publications: Africa Research Bulletin, Jeune Afrique/L’Intelligent, Rapport de mission à Kinshasa (République démocratique du Congo) du 16 juin au 5 août 2002 of the Centre de documentation des instances d’asile (CEDOCA), Resource Centre country file.

Internet sites, including: Africatime, AllAfrica, Dialog, Digitalcongo.net, MISNA, ReliefWeb.