It is with profound sadness that we are announcing of the loss of the Abbot Apollinaire Mulhongo Malumalu, founding member of ECES and the first president of ECES' management board. Mr. Malumalu was the president of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from 2003 to 2011 and ECES' president until June 2013, when he was called back to the DRC to chair the INEC. He was also the president of the Forum of the Electoral Commissions of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and he played a major role in other African networks. In 2014, he was appointed secretary of the Central Africa Electoral knowledge Network (Réseau du Savoir électoral de l’Afrique Centrale -RESEAC) and member of the RESEAC assembly, a body composed by elections administrations of 10 different Central African countries. Mr. Malumalu’s wish was that REFEAC would be in line with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance as well as to other legal regional instruments in order to mobilize synergetic actions to a achieve the electoral unity of the Economic Community of Central African Countries (Communauté Economique des Etats de l’Afrique Centrale - CEEAC).
We wish to express our condolences to his family, to the INEC of DRC, to the big electoral African and global family and to all the friends who had the good fortune to have known and worked with him.
The Abbot Malumalu was, undoubtedly, a major figure in the electoral field, one whose wisdom and management capacities were unanimously recognized. We will miss, both professionally and personally, this man willing to make all the necessary efforts to ensure elections in Africa are “joyful event rather than a drama”. Born and raised in the North Kivu, in 1988 he earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Grenoble II (Université Pierre-Mendès-France). Lately, he also obtained a Master in Human Rights science and a diploma in political science, philosophy and theology from the University of Lyon.
For ECES, the death of one of its founding members and of the first foundation president, is an important loss, both for his deep knowledge of election management related issues and for his understanding of preventing and managing election related conflicts. We will also miss his tenacity, his knowledge of human nature, his kindness and his determination: qualities that made the Abbot a great Man.
Mr. Malumalu, invited by the European Union Services to attend the European Development Days in 2010 in Brussels, announced on this occasion the creation of ECES, an idea stemming from recognising the need of having a European organisation for electoral support, tightly linked to Africa and the Middle East, and aimed at providing operational support to all electoral stakeholders and implementing capacity building activities through peer exchange and knowledge sharing. He announced the creation of ECES during the panel “Cliché, hope and cynicism, lesson learned from 15 years of EU electoral support”, attended among others by Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, (former prime minister of Zimbabwe), Mr. Thijs Berman (former member of the European parliament and currently head of ECES project in Central Africa Republic), Mr. Filippo Grandi (currently head of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and Mr. Gérard Latortue (former prime minister of Haïti).
Six years later, while we were invited to attend the same event, this time as a recognised electoral actor, to participate to the high level panel, where ECES had been represented by Mr. Thijs Berman, to discuss the lessons learned from supporting election in fragile contexts, we are proud of the work we have done with the Abbot.
We will remember his advices, the experiences he generously shared with us, the results of his research, his work that will live on and the vision he had for ECES' to continue supporting electoral processes in Africa within the context of capacity building for sustainable achievements. It is precisely for this reason, that Mr. Malumalu founded the School for Electoral training in Central Africa (Ecole de Formation Electorale en Afrique Centrale- EFEAC), whose objective is to contribute to the consolidation of democracy and good governance in Africa through the professionalization of election administration and of electoral stakeholders in general.
In his memory, we would like to share a video of Mr. Malumalu, from the beginning of 2012, when he was still ECES' president and where he talks about his hope for peaceful and transparent elections in Africa. This video has been used during several of ECES' trainings, notably the training in Leadership and Conflict Management Skills for Electoral Stakeholders (LEAD), to which he often contributed. He supervised the LEAD training organised for the representatives of 10 election management bodies from the Economic Community of Central African Countries (CEEEAC), Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Madagascar, in Brussels, in June 2012. He intervened to a large extent on the design, improvement and the current success of the LEAD training, which become a key tool of ECES capacity building activities within the framework of its projects.
May dear friend Apollinaire rest in peace.