DRC: Voters take to the polls after latest election delay

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Voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) today will vote to choose the country’s next leader after the latest delay in a long-running election saga.

The DRC was due to take to the polls on December 23 – more than two years since President Joseph Kabila’s mandate officially ended – but the electoral commission delayed the vote by a further week, saying it wasn’t ready to hold the election. However, the vote goes ahead today amid ongoing scrutiny from opposition groups over the delays and voting machines being used in the election.

DRC election goes ahead after delays

People in the DRC have had to wait a long time to choose a new leader for the troubled African nation and the election has constantly been thrown into doubt over the past two years. For a long time, opposition groups accused President Joseph Kabila of attempting to cling onto power but the long-serving leader isn’t a candidate in today’s election.

His hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary is running, though. Now, opposition groups suspect the ruling party will attempt to secure a term for Kabila’s right-hand man and then pave the way for Kabila to return in the country’s next election.

However, Shadary is an outsider if opinion polls are anything to go by and a victory for the ruling party’s candidate will only fuel suspicion and accusations about voting fraud. The voting machines used in the poll are a major point of contention for opposition groups who argue the machines will make it easier to rig the election.

So far, election day has been a mostly peaceful affair although voters are complaining about queues and delays in various locations. Whether this relative peace will hold after the result is announced remains to be seen in a country that has never experienced a peaceful transition of power.

Featured image: By MONUSCO/Myriam Asmani, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32468846

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.