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DR Congo finally prepares for long-awaited election

DR Congo finally prepares for long-awaited election
  • PublishedDecember 29, 2018

Workers in DR Congo on Friday began preparations for long-awaited elections just two days away as a pre-vote protest called by the country’s opposition appeared to fail.

In Kinshasa, about 20 black cases said to contain electronic voting machines were brought in under police escort to a polling station in the district of Matonge, an AFP reporter saw.

Fears of election-day problems have soared after the electoral commission said a warehouse fire destroyed thousands of voting machines earmarked for the capital.

The commission ordered the elections, already twice delayed, to be moved from December 23 to 30 to get more time to prepare.

On Wednesday, it declared the vote would be postponed again in violence-hit parts of the country.

However, the elections will still go ahead elsewhere and the new president will be sworn in on January 18 as scheduled, the commission said, without further explanation.

The announcement prompted Lamuka, a coalition of parties supporting opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, to call for cities to be brought to a standstill on Friday.

While the call had little support across the vast country, there was violence in the eastern province of North Kivu, one of the regions where voting has been postponed.

One demonstrator was shot dead in the city of Beni and four were wounded, local sources said.

In the province’s capital of Goma, youths faced off with police in the rundown district of Majengo. Police there also seized camera equipment from a Congolese journalist working for the BBC.

Around 1.25 million people in North Kivu and the southwestern territory of Yumbi are affected by the postponement, out of a national electoral roll of 40 million.

The head of the Independent National Election Commission, Corneille Nangaa, met with candidates including Fayulu on Friday and reiterated that the vote would go ahead on Sunday.

Another meeting between the candidates and observers will be held on Saturday.

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