The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to hold general elections on 20 December 2023.
The date was announced at a ceremony in Kinshasa on Saturday by the Commission Electorale Nationale Independante (CENI), the country’s electoral body.
CENI outlined several challenges, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials through thousands of kilometres, health concerns regarding Ebola and COVID-19, as well as the unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
However, the government has pledged to stick to the timetable in Africa’s second-largest country of 80 million people. Government spokesman Patrick Muyaya, said:
It is not a question of negotiating with the constitutional deadlines, it is a question of us respecting them and consolidating our democracy.
He said that the election will cost about US$600 million, more than US$450 million of which has already been budgeted.
DRC’s last presidential election, which was the country’s first democratic transition, was delayed by two years until it was finally held in December 2018.
In that vote, President Felix Tshisekedi took over from his long-standing predecessor Joseph Kabila.
Tshisekedi is expected to run again and one likely challenger is Martin Fayulu, who claimed victory in the 2018 election.
Meanwhile, a war is raging in eastern DRC with more than 120 armed groups, including M23 rebels, involved.
DRC has repeatedly accused Rwanda of supporting the rebels – Kigali denies the accusations. | SABC News