Congo pushes back elections back to April 2019

article-img

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission says it won’t be ready to hold elections in the country until April 2019.

Earlier this week, the commission pushed back the election date until December 2018 but now it says it will need 504 days to enrol voters and organise polls for the presidential election. Which means the DRC won’t get its presidential election until April 2019 at the earliest.

Acting president Joseph Kabila completed his second term in 2016 and struck a deal with opposition groups to hold an election this year before handing over power to the winner.

Election pushed back again

Political tension in the DRC is escalating as the country’s electoral commission continues to push back the proposed date for the next presidential election. The commission says logistical challenges are preventing it from holding an election within the agreed timeframe set out by a deal struck between incumbent president Joseph Kabila and his political opponents.

The deal stated that elections should be held this year but now the opposition is being told it will have to wait until April 2019 before a vote will take place.

The opposition accuses Kabila of orchestrating the delays in order to enough time to pass constitutional changes that would allow him to run for a third term.

No logistical issues

Jean-Bertrand Ewanga, member of the largest opposition group in the DRC, the Rassemblement, says logistics have nothing to do with the ongoing election delays.

“The holding of elections has become a political tool of Mr Kabila to distract the people,” he told Bloomberg.

“It’s not a logistical problem. It’s not a problem of money. It’s a problem of someone who is seeking to cheat 80 million people. The problem in our country is called Joseph Kabila. He must leave.”

The Rassemblement says it will no longer recognise Joseph Kabila as the country’s president after December 31.

 

Featured image: By UN Photo / Cia Pak, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35707886

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.