“The date has now been fixed, the 30th of December. I believe that elections will take place on that particular date.” Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kabila succeeded his father – a former rebel leader – who was assassinated in 2001 by one of his bodyguards.
For some Congolese who watched anxiously as the election was delayed amid sometimes deadly protests over Kabila’s extended stay in power, it will be enough to finally stand in line at polling stations and move on.
“The voting machine is not a big problem,” said Salomon Bagheni, a member of Beni’s civil society. “Use it or not, the essential thing is holding the elections on Dec. 23 to bring new leadership to this country.”
Congo’s deputy prime minister said on Saturday that tablet-like voting machines for December’s election had been made to order and will finish arriving this month, despite suspicions by diplomats and the opposition that they may enable fraud.
“A hundred and eighty containers from South Korea with the machines in them are on the sea,” Vice Prime Minister and Security Minister Henri Mova Sakanyi said in a statement, adding that 15 had already arrived and the rest would arrive by the end of October.
President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 17 years in power after a long-delayed vote scheduled for Dec. 23 to choose his successor.
Born on July 2, 1925, in Onalua, Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo), Patrice Lumumba was a writer and civic organizer before co-founding the Congolese National Movement. He became the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo with the country’s independence; yet massive unrest followed with other leaders’ uprisings, along with U.S. and Belgian involvement. Lumumba was killed on January 17, 1961.