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Congo (DRC) 2023 General Elections: Navigating Security Challenges

The 2018 general elections in Congo (DRC) were marred by allegations of fraud that caused turmoil, thus setting the scene for the upcoming elections, scheduled for 20 December 2023.

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Voters will elect the president and members of the national and provincial assemblies, as well as municipal councils. Incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi, of the Union for Social Democracy and Progress (UDPS) party, is running for a second five-year term. More than 20 opposition figures will be running against him. 

International SOS’ security experts who are constantly monitoring the situation, expect moderate-to-high levels of localised unrest and violence during the election period. According to them, such incidents will reach a peak around polling day and following the release of the results, due in late December, especially if there are allegations of fraud. 

The election period will be accompanied by an increase in social unrest and targeted political violence. Election-related protests earlier this year in May were banned by the authorities, and those that proceeded regardless were met with violent repression. More than 30 demonstrators were injured in the capital Kinshasa. There have also been arrests targeting opposition politicians which has heightened political tensions. Furthermore, there has already been a flare up of violence in the eastern part of DRC, linked to rebel activity, coinciding with demands for an accelerated withdrawal of the UN’s peacekeeping mission in Congo (DRC) – due to its presence being increasingly unpopular within the country.  

While at this stage, our experts do not expect a prolonged deterioration of the country’s overall security environment, non-essential inbound travel should be deferred during the core election period to minimise exposure to election-related disruption and unrest. It is also important for organisations operating in Congo (DRC) to put in place adequate security measures to ensure the safety of their essential workforce and their business continuity. 

To help them better prepare, we have gathered below some of the security recommendations highlighted in our latest Insight Report, accessible to our Workforce Resilience subscribers. 

International SOS’ Security Recommendations for Organisations in DRC: 

  • We advise against non-essential inbound travel between 16 December and 6 January 2024, while all travel should be avoided on 19-21 December.  International assignees with the ability to depart the country during this period should do so.
  • Update business continuity and escalation plans to account for potential election-related disruption to operations. 
  • Consider implementing work-from-home arrangements where possible for workforce in hot spot areas.
  • Essential in-country workforce should be prepared to minimise movement on 19-21 December. Precedent indicates that disruption to telecommunications is likely around this time, and workforce may be required to stand fast in the event of significant unrest.
  • Consult International SOS to obtain a briefing on main flashpoints, our latest assessment and advice. 

For more information on how we may assist you, reach out to us via the contact button above.