UN Deputy Secretary General Asha-Rose Migiro, in her Kinshasa address on Tuesday 24 April 2007 to Apollinaire Malu Malu, president of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), she encouraged the organisation to foster a larger participation of women in DRC politics, and to ensure that the upcoming DRC local elections will be a success.
Dr. Migiro felt that the DRC, 'like many African countries, constitutes a majority of women but unfortunately it has not been reflected,' and that 'there will be no democracy if a big section of the population is left behind.'
"It's my humble request that you and the commissioners also work closely with government and civil society so that you build a concensus on how to prepare ground for effective full women's participation as voters, as well as contestants," she said.
She added that 'the situation will change if the society decides to change.'
"But it will be important also that a legal framework is put in place to allow that. So as you prepare for these elections I know that the National Assembly will have to enact the relevant legislation. That will be a good opportunity for this aspect of womens' participation to be considered and to be legislated."
The Deputy Secretary General also stressed to the IEC the importance of the holding of the DRC local elections.
"It's important that all is done to ensure that the local elections are held because democracy will not be complete if it is not felt at the grassroots level. Therefore the local elections open yet another chance of allowing the Congolese people to take control of the running of the affairs of the state and contributing to the development of the nation," she explained.
She went on to say that 'in order to make these elections a success, it will be important to put in place the relevant laws.'
"These will ensure that procedures are known and the process is put in place for the local elections, and I hope that you, the government and other stakeholders will work together to prepare the Congolese people to make these elections free and fair," she concluded.
Deputy Secretary General Migiro is in Congo Brazzaville today 25 April 2007, for a meeting with UNDP representatives, and is due to fly to New York this evening, concluding her three day visit to the region.