Congo: 2017 elections promised, opposition skeptical

Security challenges in Central African country could hinder voter registration and safe polls, says electoral official

Congo: 2017 elections promised, opposition skeptical

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s independent electoral body Tuesday said long-delayed presidential polls will be held before year’s-end and also urged implementation of last December’s power-sharing agreement.

“Will there be elections in 2017? Yes,'' said Corneille Nangaa, head of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), in a statement.

''We have continued our work. We are continuing with registration of voters and are facing some challenges,” he added.

The commission also faces security challenges, a situation that could hinder both voter registration and the smooth running of elections in certain provinces of the gigantic Central African country, he said.

But Roland Ilunga, a mobilizer for the UDPS, the country’s biggest opposition party, said, ''The elections commission dances to the government’s tune. It says that elections will take place before the end of this year but there’s nothing to show that they are preparing for the activity apart from registering voters.''

He said that they would not be surprised if the year ends and the commission says that they are still registering voters.

Ray Kabamba, an elections commission official, said they cannot yet announce the exact elections date as they are not sure when registration will conclude, only that it will end this year. 

President Joseph Kabila's term expired last December, but he did not leave office, saying the country was not yet ready for elections as most citizens have yet to be registered. Riots ensued, leading to opposition and government peace talks culminating in a New Year’s Eve agreement.

Among the key issues in the agreement was holding elections this year and appointing a prime minister from the opposition.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Nisan 2017, 17:09