Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party supporters gather as they wait for the arrival of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi for a campaign rally at the Afia stadium in Goma, North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo December 10, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

KINSHASA, Dec 13 (Reuters) – Democratic Republic of Congo’s government has asked the United Nations to allow its peacekeeping mission to help with the logistics of organising national elections next week, according to a letter seen by Reuters.

There have been challenges in the distribution of voting materials in Africa’s second-largest country due to a lack of paved roads and conflict in rebel-plagued eastern provinces, where a U.N. peacekeeping mission is deployed.

The mission, known as MONUSCO, has already helped deliver voting materials in the eastern provinces of Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu. Its mandate is currently limited to those areas.

In a letter dated Dec. 12, the Kinshasa government asked the U.N. Security Council to allow MONUSCO to extend its logistical support to other provinces.

The mission’s spokesperson, Ndeye Khady Lo, confirmed the letter and said the mission was waiting for the Security Council’s reply.

Congo’s government and its national electoral commission (CENI) did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some analysts and civil society groups have raised concerns that the election on Dec. 20 could be delayed. In 2018, Congo postponed the vote by one week just three days before it was set to take place.


The CENI last week asked the presidency to provide aircraft urgently to help distribute voting materials in hard-to-reach areas.

The government has meanwhile asked neighbouring Angola to lend it some planes for the election period. But its request was refused because it came too late, a diplomatic source said.

(Reporting by Sonia Rolley; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Mark Heinrich)