Congolese voters began voting this Sunday for legislative, provincial and presidential elections. 21 candidates are running for presidential elections.
In Lubumbashi second city of the DRC, Goma in the east of the country and in Kinshasa the capital, voters began to vote. A voter in Lubumbashi told one of the BBC’s special envoys that he was happy to slip his ballot into the ballot box and be able to choose the people he wants
“It’s a feeling of joy, to have fulfilled your civic duty. Alternation or change begins with the vote, it is a duty, I filled it and it is an immense joy.”
According to Congolese media, voting operations have been delayed in some offices, or have not started, or have been suspended due to difficulties with the use of voting machines.
This election is held in a very tense context. First scheduled for December 23, it was postponed until Sunday, December 30. A postponement of a week denounced by the opposition who called for a “dead cities” operation to protest against this decision of the Independent National Electoral Commission, CENI. The decision followed the fire of one of the warehouses of the CENI in the capital Kinshasa. The warehouse housed electronic machines, much of which was consumed.
The CENI has also postponed to March the election in three localities of the DRC namely Beni, Butembo and Yumbi, because of insecurity and the persistence of the Ebola epidemic.
The opposition, the Catholic Church and civil society who condemned the dismissal accused the CENI of working for power. But his president rejected these accusations. In Kinshasa, there was insufficient equipment. But the CENI says it has increased the size of polling stations to 700 voters per office against 600 in the provinces to offset the deficit.
While worries remain over the process, INEC President Corneille Nangaa has assured that the presidential, legislative and provincial elections will take place today. Friday, after a meeting with the candidates, he invited the Congolese to vote in peace and quiet.
A call also launched by the police who banned any gathering of voters around polling stations and compilation.
Taking stock of the progress of the preparations, the president of the CENI said that the delivery of election materials in the interior of the country was more or less complete. He said that as soon as the polls closed, work will begin “from December 30 evenings in our local compilation centres.”
The provisional results of the presidential election will be known on January 6th according to the electoral commission.