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DRC postpones polls amidst rising suspicion of prolonging the Kabila reign

Written by: George Kalisa
Friday, December 21st, 2018, 8:07
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The Congolese Independent National Election Commission (CENI) Chief Corneille Nangaa on December20 announced the postponement of the long-delayed Presidential polls, citing technical reasons. There were widespread speculations across the country on Wednesday that the elections would not take place on Sunday following the destruction of the voting materials in Kinshasa depot earlier in the week. 

 

“We have painfully decided to postpone the Sunday election due to technical problems related to the Kinshasa province,” Nangaa told reporters at a press briefing in the capital Kinshasa on Thursday.

 

However, the opposition reasons CENI advanced for the delay never went down well with the opposition particularly, Martin Fayulu. Fayulu is one of the two opposition front runners in this election.  

 

“No delay can be justified,” said Martin Fayulu.

 

 Kabila and Nangaa would bear full responsibility for this charade,” he added.

                                    H.E President Joseph Kabila

 

Sources at CENI said five million ballot papers were needed from South Africa of which only one million had arrived.  

 

The CENI announcement came barely a day after the Governor of Kinshasa had banned campaigns in Kinshasa city as a precaution measure to pending violence on the streets.

 

The Lamuka coalition Presidential candidate and ex-oil tycoon Martin Fayulu was due to hold a rally there.

 

 "The provincial government of Kinshasa, on security grounds, has decided to suspend election campaign activities on all of the territory of the capital from today," said Andre Kimbuta, the Governor of Kinshasa in a statement.

 

A few days before a mysteries fire destroyed about 8,000 biometric election machines in the CENI depot. The ruling party the People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) and the opposition parties pointed a blaming finger at each other over the incident.

 

The opposition has already sent signals that ruling party was rigging the election by opting to use biometric machines for the first time in the country. Electronic machines have been used before in Belgium, India, Namibia, Brazil and Venezuela.

 

But, the point of contention is that the particular device which the opposition has contested has not been tested anywhere before. And, the opposition says the machines may favour incumbent President Joseph Kabila’s handpicked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. Secondly, there is doubt in the opposition about the competence of the polling officers in using the machines.  

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