Welcome to Africanews

Please select your experience

Watch Live



DR Congo: Opposition candidates criticize vote over delays, irregularities

vote in DRC   -  
Copyright © africanews
ARSENE MPIANA/AFP or licensors

Democratic Republic Of Congo

Nearly 44 million voters in the Democratic Republic of Congo presidential election eventually got going in many polling stations across the country on Wednesday, after long delays in receiving the necessary electoral materials.

Amid a tense security context, many voters expressed their frustration over a failure to fulfill such a basic requirement of the electoral materials, as others continued to aim accusations of electoral fraud at the organizers.

Given the chaotic start to presidential elections in the DR Congo, Africa's second-largest country by land area, and after waiting for almost three hours, hundreds of angry voters tried to force their way into a polling center in the capital city of Kinshasa.

Many had arrived very early to avoid the long queues. Some said they were supposed to be inside the polling stations monitoring the whole thing.

"We've stood here for so long. We are local observers and should be inside the polling station monitoring the process. But they've asked us to wait here. I don't know what is going on," said Malefrancois Kasai Wa Kasai, a resident.

The delay has raised fears among some of the opposition candidates that many people will not be able to cast their ballot after polls close.

"We want all 71,000 something polling stations. Each of them has to open and receive voters so they can vote. If we don't have all of them, we don't consider this elections," said Martin Fayulu, a leading opposition candidate.

The DR Congo's election was being held amidst rising inflation, widespread poverty and an armed conflict in the eastern part of the country. Voters said they want a president who will end the armed conflicts in the east and create jobs to improve their life.

The DR Congo is a large country with a poor road network. The electoral commission has faced many challenges in organizing this poll, while the biggest one was getting electoral materials to the thousands of polling stations in remote areas.

But even in the capital, Kinshasa, the home of the government, voting machines and ballot papers turned up late.

"People want to vote, they have expectations at the end of this day and I just believe that the electoral commission will activate all that is needed so that the Congolese people can vote properly in peace," said Seth Kikuni, a politician.

Nineteen candidates are running in the presidential race. But the frontrunners are President Felix Tshisekedi, Moise Katumbi, Martin Fayulu and Dennis Mukwege.

With no run-off planned, it has been a sprint for the line in the first and only round. Whoever got the most votes would be declared the winner.

According to the official electoral calendar, provisional results are expected on Dec 31, and the president-elect will be sworn in on Jan 20 next year.

View more