30 December 2018

Congo-Kinshasa: DR Congo - Election Marked By Delays, Irregularities

Photo: Kevin Jordan, MONUSCO/UN Photo
Peacekeepers in Beni territory, North Kivu.(file photo)

Voters in the DR Congo are voting in an historic election that will shape the future of the turbulent African country. Delays, irregularities and voting problems threaten the election's credibility.

Millions of voters cast ballots in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday, in a widely anticipated election that could mark the African giant's first democratic transfer of power or tip it further into violence.

The election comes after President Joseph Kabila delayed elections for two-years after the end of his second and final term, triggering a violent political standoff that left dozens dead across the country.

Some 40 million registered voters chose from a crowded field of 21 presidential candidates in the election, which took place alongside legislative and municipal ballots.

The opposition has been split between two main candidates, Martin Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil manager who was a relative unknown months ago, and Felix Tshisekedi, the scion of late opposition icon Etienne. Kabila's preferred successor, the former Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, ran on the ruling party's ticket.

An opinion poll by the New York University-affiliated Congo Research Group put Fayulu in the lead with 44 percent, followed by Tshisekedi at 24 percent and Shadary lagging behind with 18 percent.

"Today we are writing the end of Kabila, the end of misery for Congolese people," Fayulu said as he cast his ballot in the capital, Kinshasa. "Congo will stop being the laughingstock of the world."

Voting alongside Kabila in the capital, Shadary called for "peace and calm."

"I am very confident in victory because the Congolese people will trust me, I campaigned all over the country."

Kabila told reporters: "My message today to my compatriots is to come and vote for their candidates and brave the rain."

30.12.2018

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