DRC: ELECTIONS/AGENTS/7/11/17 SABANews 1
KINSHASA – The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO is expecting to hold elections to replace President JOSEPH KABILA next DECEMBER, although opposition groups want him out of office this year.
Media reports say CONGOLESE citizens would have gone to the polls in 2017, under an agreement paving way for President KABILA to step down, but the process failed due to persistent squabbling.
The reports quote Independent National Electoral Commission Official JEAN-PIERRE KALAMBA as saying voting will take place on 23 DECEMBER 2018 to choose a president, lawmakers, as well as regional and local authority leaders.
UNION FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL PROGRESS Spokesperson AUGUSTIN KABUYA says his group is against the timetable and demands the exit of President KABILA by the end of 2017.
The media reports say the Electoral Commission has announced provisional results of the presidential election will remain unpublished until 30 DECEMBER, ONE week after the vote.
The ultimate results will then be out by NINE JANUARY 2019, before the new Head of State takes over on the 12TH of the same month to end 16 years of the JOSEPH KABILA Administration.
Media reports say the announcement comes 10 days after the UNITED STATES Ambassador to the UNITED NATIONS, NIKKI HALEY, visited and called for elections next year.
They say AMERICA, BRITAIN, FRANCE, the EUROPEAN UNION and the UNITED NATIONS are among international forces calling on the CONGOLESE Leader to announce election dates.
They further quote Mr HALEY as saying for every day which goes by without holding the polls, a woman is raped, a child has an unwanted pregnancy, children are inducted by armed groups in AFRICA’s SECOND-largest country.
General elections come after the 2016 clashes in which soldiers shot and killed 20 protesters, demanding President KABILA to step down after his mandate expired last DECEMBER, in the streets of the capital, KINSHASA.
DRC has never had a peaceful transfer of power since the fall of the late Dictator MOBUTU SESE SEKO, who ruled and looted the country he had renamed ZAIRE from 1965 to 1997./Sabanews/cam