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DRC General Elections Commence


Over 46 million registered voters in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) descended into polling stations on December 30, 2018, to cast their votes in the country's general elections. Contesting for the presidential post, are 21 candidates including Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary of the ruling party People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy, and Felix Tshisekedi of the main opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress.

Monitoring the elections are observers from the African Union (AU) and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Election observers from the European Union (EU) and USA are said to have been denied invitation, probably fair enough given the fact that African observers are never invited in elections in the EU and USA. Africans like the rest of the world should be able to monitor credibly their own elections.

The ongoing general elections in DRC originally scheduled to be held two years ago in December 2016, have been postponed multiple times, with the most recent postponement been from December 23, 2018 to December 30, 2018. Even now, voters in three areas, namely Beni and Butembo, as well as Yumbi, in North Kivu and Bandundu provinces respectively, are excluded from the ongoing general elections. Instead, voters in these areas, will be able to cast their votes in March 2019.

Reasons given by country's electoral commission for delaying elections in three areas were Ebola outbreak and security concerns. However, the opposition is reported to have dismissed the reasons given by the commission, arguing the commission's decision to delay elections in the three areas known to be their stronghold is politically motivated.

Notwithstanding, despite worries especially from the opposition, that the elections may not be free and fair, some political analysts think the elections are better political development in DRC than the status quo. They present the first ever democratic transfer of power in the country's modern history. They will pave the way for a successor of the incumbent president Joseph Kabila whose second and last term in office according to the country's Constitution expired on December 20, 2016.

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