Launch of critical DRC election website

By Richard Lee | August 03rd, 2011

With national elections in DRC less than four months away, a critical website was launched today by Agir pour des Elections Transparentes et Apaisees (AETA - Act for Transparent and Peaceful Elections) - to provide a source of up-to-date information, a database of key facts and figures, thought-provoking analysis of the electoral process, and a forum for debate.

The most innovative aspect of the website is that it provides partners with a dynamic space where they can share information and ideas in real time. Each province of the country - through its AETA focal point - will be able to communicate on each specific aspect of the electoral process, ensuring that people can access information from the whole country and not just the major urban areas.

The website is just one aspect of the crucial work that AETA is doing in the run-up to DRC's second post-conflict democratic elections. Supported by OSISA, AETA is a network of civil society organisations that are dedicated to promoting civic education and transparent, democratic elections.

AETA's objectives include:

1) helping to improve the efficiency and quality of elections in order to support lasting peace and the rule of law in the DRC;

2) ensuring ongoing civic and voter education of the Congolese people;

3) supporting the monitoring, and community control, of transparent and democratic electoral processes;

4) encouraging the spirit of consultation and dialogue between people and rulers; and,

5) working for lasting peace in DRC

As for the website, it has been designed to be easily accessible and user-friendly, enabling its users to quickly discover and enjoy its wealth of information. The grey background portrays the precariousness of life in the DRC, while the yellow and orange reflect the hope and the wealth that abounds in the country.

Meanwhile, the banner includes an image of children playing - an image that highlights three key issues. The first is that democratic elections are a game with rules that must be followed. Secondly, elections involve the formulation of a draft programme for both the present and the future. And finally, the spirit of fair play that should characterize this process is not inevitable in itself, but represents a real opportunity for future generations.

OSISA is supporting AETA on the assumption that the consolidation of a democratic culture inevitably involves encouraging people’s participation in government and governance, which requires empowerment of the citizenry, increasing awareness on rights and obligations, developing ability to influence and monitor the management and performance of political power.

The project encourages citizen’s participation through better coordination of civil society organizations during the 2011 electoral process. It also entails empowerment of voters via a civic education campaign; the monitoring and management of the electoral process led by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); and monitoring and facilitating consultation among electoral stakeholders including political parties, NGOs, churches and other actors involved in the process.

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