Kinshasa, DRC – Tens of millions of voters within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will head to the polls tomorrow to decide on a successor to long-time President Joseph Kabila.
President Kabila is stepping down after ruling the mineral-rich nation for 17 years and his handpicked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, is one in every of 21 candidates competing for the nation’s high job.
What are the 5 issues you must learn about DRC and its election?
Peaceable energy switch?
Kinshasa is attempting to buck previous developments by guaranteeing a peaceable switch of energy for the primary time because it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
Kabila, 47, got here to energy following the assassination of his father by one in every of his bodyguards in 2001.
Kabila, then 29 years of age, turned the world’s youngest chief.
DRC elections unrest in opposition strongholds
His father was a insurgent chief who overthrew the long-serving Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997 with the assistance of troops from neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda.
Mobutu was a larger-than-life chief recognized for costly procuring journeys to the French capital, Paris.
The previous military chief, got here to energy in 1965 by a coup backed by former colonial energy Belgium.
He overthrew the nation’s first democratically elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba.
Lumumba – a Pan-Africanist – was imprisoned by the Mobutu regime after which executed firing squad, his physique chopped up, and dissolved in acid.
The central African nation is at the moment within the midst of an ebola outbreak in its japanese components. The outbreak, declared in August, is the second deadliest in historical past.
In line with the World Well being Group it has claimed greater than 330 lives.
The electoral fee (CENI) delayed the December 23 vote by every week partly due to the Ebola outbreak.
On Wednesday, CENI stated voting is not going to happen in Beni and Butembo within the japanese North Kivu province till March 2019 due to the lethal viral illness.
Peace and safety
DRC, house to greater than 60 % of the world’s cobalt, continues to face safety challenges particularly within the japanese a part of the nation.
Ongoing conflicts in areas like North Kivu, Ituri, and Kasai provinces have uprooted a whole bunch of hundreds.
In line with the Norwegian Refugee Council, the battle displaced 1.7 million individuals in 2018.
Will presidential vote in DRC ever happen?
A mean of 5,500 individuals fled their properties day by day within the nation this 12 months, in keeping with a report launched by the Inner Displacement Monitoring Centre.
The UN has its largest and costliest peacekeeping mission within the nation with about 18,000 uniformed personnel.
The mission has been instrumental within the defeat of the M23 insurgent group – one of many largest armed teams in DR Congo.
Within the runup to the vote, ethnic violence elevated considerably. CENI has postponed voting in Yumbi within the western Bandundu province till March subsequent 12 months following battle that left greater than 100 individuals lifeless.
DR Congo is roughly the scale of western Europe and that’s proving a problem relating to transporting voting supplies to far-flung components of the nation.
The nation would not have a street community connecting its japanese to western half or southern to northern half.
The United Nations has provided logistics assist to the electoral physique however that has been turned down.
For the primary time, DRC voters will use voting machines to forged their poll.
Voters will elect the candidate of their alternative utilizing a tablet-like machine earlier than their alternative is printed out on a poll paper.
The voter then submits their poll paper, which is then counted after polls shut.
CENI needs to deploy greater than 100,000 of the South Korean-made voting machines throughout the nation.
The electoral fee says the gadgets will lower prices and velocity up the voting and counting course of.
However the opposition, civil society teams and a few observers concern the machines might be used to rig an election.
The machines haven’t been examined within the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier than.
Joseph Kabila on DRC elections and future: ‘The sky is the restrict’ | Speak to Al Jazeera