In the DRC, general elections are scheduled for December 20, 2023. On November 19, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Céni) began full-scale tests of voting machines, in several Céni branches across the country. Report in a center in Kinshasa.
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With our special correspondent in Kinshasa, Paulina Zidi
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) entered the home stretch before the general elections of December 20, 2023: presidential, legislative, provincial and partial municipal elections.
A vote which will be carried out, as in 2018, with the electronic voting system (DEV), what is more commonly called the voting machine.
Since Sunday, November 19, the Independent National Electoral Commission (Céni) has launched full-scale tests in several Céni branches across the country to ensure the proper functioning of the system.
In the capital, Kinshasa, it is in the heart of a school in Gombe that the Céni set up shop to test its voting machines.
“ The machines are already everywhere, they must work », assures Madame Solange, Céni agent. She shows RFI the twenty machines already tested and packaged. There is only one left to end the day: “ These are machines from Kinshasa. The tests are not only done in Kinshasa. There are other sites which are at the level of Bas-Congo (former name of the province of Kongo-Central, Editor’s note). »
Michel, another Céni agent, details how the testing of a machine takes place: “ To test, we start voting. We look to see if the battery life can support all the voting operations of the day. Apart from the battery, we also test the kit itself, if there are no bugs in its operation. Because we will have 700 voters who must vote during the day, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. »
This system will work anywhere »
The voter enters their ballot, makes their choice and collects it. The bulletin is kept for manual compilation at the end of the day. The digital results are sent directly by mobile network to the compilation center. And for areas without networks, Ms. Solange tests the satellite: “ Here I am doing the RTS transfer. This is for places that are not covered. »
Asked whether a small USB key was then extracted from the voting machine, Madame Solange confirms. Likewise on the use of this key to then successfully transmit the data. And when RFI asks the person concerned if we are sure that this system will work anywhere, she confirms: “ Anywhere ! »