Congolese vote for Kabila’s successor
Written by: George Kalisa
Sunday, December 30th, 2018, 10:19
Congolese had joined long queues as early as seven today morning to vote the next President in a landmark election that will see the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) embrace a peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
President Kabila’s handpicked candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former interior minister is facing two main opposition challengers – former oil tycoon Martin Fayulu and son of the fallen Congolese opposition icon and leader of UDPS, Felix Tshisekendi.
The main opposition figures including President Kabila and his blue-eyed boy had voted by press time. Polling will end 16:00 o’clock local time.
The opposition, however, remains suspicious of the electronic voting machine which has not been tested elsewhere, alleging the electoral process would easily be manipulated by the ruling party to rig the vote.
Electronic voting machines have been used before in Belgium, India, Namibia, Brazil and Venezuela, though not this very contested machine.
The credibility of this election is already in balance given the repeated delays.
President Joseph Kabila’s second and last term had expired in 2016 but himself along with the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) kept on giving excuses for the delay including insecurity in the eastern region of the vast mineral-rich African nation.
H.E President Joseph Kabila casts vote at Insititut de la Gombe polling station in Kinshasa (Photo/AFP)
Some 46 million eligible voters will cast their votes for 34,900 candidates for 500 national and 715 Provincial seats.
There are 21 candidates in the presidential race though the majority is overshadowed by heavy-weight politicians, Martin Fayulu, Tshisekendi and Kabila’s blu-eyed boy Ramazani Shadary. CENI designated 21,000 polling stations across the huge country with the poorest road network with barely 3,400 kilometres of tarmacked roads.