Opposition protests election postponement in Kinshasa
Written by: George Kalisa
Friday, December 21st, 2018, 4:20
Congolese opposition supporters on Friday gathered at party Headquarters protesting the Thursday’s decision by the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) to put off the December23 polls for a week, citing technical reasons.
Angry protestors in the captal Kinshasa demanded the urgent resignation of President Joseph Kabila if the long delayed election doesn’t take place on Sunday as earlier planned.
“We have painfully decided to postpone the Sunday election due to technical problems related to the Kinshasa province,” Corneille Nangaa, the CENI Chief told reporters at a press briefing in the capital Kinshasa on Thursday
Shortly after the bitter announcement, oppositional presidential aspirant largely seen as front runner, Martin Fayulu told reporters that President Kabila and Nangaa would “bear full responsibility for this charade”
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.
The campaigning period was characterized by excessive use of power by the security forces against opposition supporter. Live weapons and tear gas reportedly caused deaths of civilians in some townships attracting criticism from human rights actors.
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.