The Democratic Republic of the Congo has announced that it will be holding presidential and parliamentary elections in the midst of unrest from the M23 rebel group. This announcement comes as the country faces immense pressure to hold peaceful and credible elections.
The M23 rebel group has been wreaking havoc in the country, and the Congolese government has been facing criticism for its inability to control the situation. The upcoming elections will be a test for the government, and it is hoped that they will be able to successfully pull off the elections despite the current chaotic situation.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo has said it will hold presidential and parliamentary elections on December 20, 2023. This will kick off a year of complex preparations in the vast East African country, large parts of which have been overrun by armed groups. This is a significant political development in the Congo, and it will be interesting to see how the country proceeds in the coming months and years.
The announcement of the date for the Congo’s long-delayed presidential election has been met with scepticism and concern from many quarters. The election, which was supposed to have been held in December 2018, has been postponed several times due to the country’s political and security situation.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), which announced the date at a ceremony in Kinshasa on Saturday, acknowledged the many challenges that remain, including the logistics of transporting ballot materials thousands of kilometres, health concerns about Ebola and COVID-19, and unrest that has forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.
But the government has pledged to stick to the timetable in the country of 80 million people.
“It is not a question of negotiating with the constitutional deadlines, it is a question of us respecting them and consolidating our democracy,” said government spokesman Patrick Muyaya.
He said that the election would cost about $600m, more than $450m of which has already been budgeted.
Electoral upheavals are not uncommon in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The last presidential election, which was supposed to be the country’s first democratic transition, was delayed by two years.
When it was finally held in December 2018, President Felix Tshisekedi took over from his long standing predecessor, Joseph Kabila. While the election was a step in the right direction, there are still many challenges that the DRC faces in terms of democracy and stability.