Fire guts DRC electoral depot amidst rising tensions
Written by: Ernest Nyetera and George Kalisa
Thursday, December 13th, 2018, 4:04
Clouds of black smoke would be seen swirling over the electoral commission depot in the Congolese capital Kinshasa today. Some two-thirds of the biometric voting materials allocated for the city is estimated to have burnt into ashes during a mysterious fire, officials confirmed to reporters.
The unfolding events including arbitrary murders of opposition supporters, running battles between the security forces and the civilians cast a spell on violence marred polls 10 days away.
Two people were killed in the eastern region police said yesterday. But, the opposition contested police reports saying six died.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will go to polls on December23 to determine the successor of incumbent President Joseph Kabila whose second and final term expired December20, 2016 according to the Constitution of the mineral-rich African country. The DRC election is the most anticipated on the Continent this year with all eyes fixed on it.
Kabila’s ruling party, the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) on August4 named Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary,57, a former Interior Minister its flag-bearer in the highly anticipated Presidential polls. November27, 2016 was the original poll date before they zeroed on the end of 2017, a promise that suffered a deadlock as there was lack of political commitment to hold the polls.
President Kabila who allegedly delayed the elections after his term ended has been the Congolese President since 2001. The Constitution prohibits him from seeking a third term.
His delay to pronounce his stand on whether he would stand or step down as President had attracted scathing criticism from Western powers, especially the US, Human Rights watchdogs and insurmountable pressure from the Catholic Church in DRC.
It is against this backdrop that the DRC general election has attracted global attention and whether the war ravaged central African nation can hold a free and fair election is still in balance according to many observers in the region.
At last Kabila pulled out and Shadary campaigns under his wings as his victory does not seem to be on a silver platter in the second democratic election of DRC in this long-delayed poll due to fire-spitting opposition.