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Home / World / Congolese hold their breath and wonder if this presidential election will be credible: NPR

Congolese hold their breath and wonder if this presidential election will be credible: NPR



Voters are waiting in front of a polling station in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday.

FREDRIK LERNERYD / AFP / Getty Images


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Heavy rain, long queues and broken voting machines in the capital plagued voters in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who vote in Sunday's long awaited presidential election.

The lead to President's new elections has been hit by a series of delays and controversies. The vote, which was scheduled to take place in 201

6, was postponed from last Sunday, partly because of a camp fire that destroyed the majority of voting machines for polling stations in the capital, Kinshasa.

Election Day was no exception, delays in which the polling stations remained open for hours after their closure. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reported that one of the biggest problems was the controversial new voting machines.

"The machines used for the first time have been criticized by opposition candidates who argue that they are vulnerable to fraud," Quist-Arcton said. Election observers confirmed that voting machines were confirmed in many places did not work or stalled during operation. The Congolese opposition candidates claimed widespread irregularities and asked why voter registration did not arrive in some polling stations in opposition strongholds in Kinshasa, Quist-Arcton Province reported in eastern Congo. Reuters reported that a police officer had shot a young man after a dispute over alleged election fraud. Then the crowd beat the officer to death, a witness and a local politician said. President Joseph Kabila has long refused to relinquish power, but the Sunday elections should bring the country's first democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

Kabila has been ruling the Congo for almost 18 years. After the killing of his father in 2001, Kabila came to power. Kabila's constitutional limit was in 2016, but he has delayed the election over the past two years to decide his successor and forcibly take action against demonstrators who resist the delays.

Residents come to vote in an improvised polling station at the Kalinda Stadium in Beni, where elections for the Democratic Republic of the Congo's parliamentary elections have been postponed. The electoral authorities postponed the vote in three cities until March 2019 for an Ebola outbreak.

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Residents come to vote in an improvised polling station at the Kalinda Stadium in Beni, where elections to the Democratic Republic of Congo's general election have been postponed. The electoral authorities postponed the Ebola outbreak vote in three cities until March 2019.

ALEXIS HUGUET / AFP / Getty Images

In addition to the tensions, the electoral commission ruled last week that more than 1 million people were excluded from voting because of an Ebola outbreak in the east of the country. According to CNN, they also cited a terrorist threat.

The Commission said that elections in three cities, Beni, Butembo and Yumbi, known as strongholds of the opposition, will not be held until March 2019. A new president is expected to be announced early January and then inaugurated later this month.

Critics say the delay in voting in the three cities until the winner is announced undermines the credibility of the elections.

Citizens in the city of Beni protested against the decision and held their CNN on Sunday reporting on their own provisional vote.

"The Congolese hold their breath," said Quist-Arcton on Weekend All Things Considered with Don Gonyea of ​​NPR. "I wonder if this will be a credible choice."

"Everyone says," We need a peaceful election, we need a peaceful post-election period and we need a peaceful power transfer, "said Quist-Arcton," that has never happened in the Congo. They pray … that this will happen, we must see. "


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