Population census: An electoral weapon

  • In October 2014, the president established the national agency for population census (ONIP). This state’s institution is entrusted to undertake a national census of the population in order to prepare the 2016 presidential elections. Though it is important to have new state’s figures reflecting the overall statistics of the populations, the intention motivating the creation of ONIP is purely political and relates to the extension of the sitting president’s term on power. According to many specialists, the census of the Congolese populations may take up to two years to be completed due many obstacles such as lack of infrastructure to access remote cities, existence of militias and rebels in certain zones of the country, census to be held on a huge country of over 2 millions km² etc. In addition the time at which ONIP is created casts a doubt on its true agenda. In this regards it is important to ask a question why this census agency is established just few months before the 2016 presidential elections. Normally ONIP should have been created many years ago to facilitate the long and complex process of census. Another strange fact is that the census of populations does not concern local and legislative elections though they are scheduled for this year. It is therefore clear that the ONIP agency is being used by the governing party primarily as a political instrument to bypass the 2016 presidential elections, and consequently to break the constitutional limit of the number of presidential terms.