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Voter registration underway in Eastern DRC

Voter registration starts in eastern DRC   -  
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Democratic Republic Of Congo

Voters queued, some of them for hours, in eastern DRC this Thursday to register to vote ahead of Presidential elections scheduled to take place in December.

Violence in the region has delayed the start of the process.

In western DRC voter registration began last December and was followed January in the centre and southeast of the country.

For many, the priority is to put an end to armed conflict.

"We have our cards here, but there are compatriots who will not have access to them. The war must end so that everyone can have their voter's card and go vote. I wonder if we will have our own cards here, and if compatriots in rebel-held areas will have other cards. No! The war must end so that we have identical voter cards", reclaimed Stéphanie Nyota, resident and citizen of Goma.

The Vice President of the National Youth Forum, Fiston Ketha, added "we ask the government of the Republic to make as much effort to drive out the enemy, to drive out the M23, so that every Congolese will be able to take his or her voter's card. Because if it continues like this, we are legitimizing the rebels with this part that they have already taken".

North Kivu's military governor, Lieutenant-General Constant Ndima, said that areas under the control of the M23, which dominates large areas north and northwest of Goma, would undergo voter registration after they have been "liberated."

The last presidential vote in the DRC took place in December 2018 and lead to the nation's first peaceful handover of power. 

Former opposition leader Félix Tshisekedi was the winner although the results were bitterly contested by his rivals.

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