DR Congo presidential campaigns draws to three-horse battle

When the Congolese population which is largely Catholic goes for this year’s Christmas festivals, celebrations will be market with anxiety as the process of vote counting will be tailing down after the December 20 elections.

As the international media focus will be on the result of the Presidential elections, for the about 45m Congolese voters, there are several other political offices to elect leaders for. On the same day, the voters will choose the President, members of the national and provincial assemblies, and, also local leadership.

As days pass, the Presidential race continues to pit business tycoon, Moise Katumbi and former Oil and Gas Executive, Martin Fayulu against incumbent, Felix Tshisekedi. There 25 candidates on the campaign trail but significantly, the race has Tshisekedi seeking a second term in office, Fayulu who claims was robbed out of victory in 2018 and Katumbi who was not registered as candidate at the time.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has prepared for the elections and has since received all the electoral materials needed for the election at which it is calling on Congolese to turn-up on December 20 to “make history”.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) received late in the night from Friday 08 to Saturday 09 December 2023 the last batch of electoral materials ordered in China with a tonnage of 92,884 kg consisting of sensitive documents from polling stations” CENI stated on X, formerly Twitter.

CENI continues to insist that the elections will be free and fair while the opposition politicians are showing skepticism over the quality of the work being prepared. With reports that CENI lacked means of transport for the electoral materials to rural areas, Presidential candidate Katumbi recently revealed he would have offered one of his planes to handle the task.

“In the middle of the campaign in deep Congo 🇨🇩 , everywhere I hear the population demanding with one voice the holding of free, democratic and transparent elections and the publication of the results polling station by polling station. It is at this moment that I discovered the letter from the President of #CENI who claims to lack means of transport for the organization of the elections. To help my country, despite the fact that one of my planes is still blocked by the authorities in South Africa, I am ready to make my contribution to taking care of the planes with a view to holding the elections on December 20” he stated on December 8.

Katumbi, a former Governor of Mineral-rich Katanga province has promised to fix roads and other infrastructure services in most of the impoverished parts of the country.

President Tshisekedi has promised to sort the insecurity situation in the eastern part of the country where several negative forces operate including the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) a Ugandan rebel outfit to which most of the killings around Beni town are attributed. He has also retaliated claims that Rwanda is behind some of the rebel activities especially the M23 rebels.

On his side, Fayulu continues to discredit Tshisekedi’s administration and has been telling Congolese that the poverty and high rate of unemployment is a problem of the Kinshasa establishment.

There are several issues that cut across the campaign agenda of the leading candidates with corruption at the forefront. While the two leading opponents accuse Tshisekedi’s government of failing to fight corruption, the regime prides in its fight so far.

There are voices which say that corruption that was allegedly institutionalised during the tenure of former President Joseph Kabila, has not been dealt with by Tshisekedi despite the fact that his government established an anti-corruption watchdog.

Media reports about the corruption scandals in the country say that the vice known for draining public resources, range from bribery schemes in the civil service to illicit financial transactions and citizens often have to pay bribes to access public services like identification cards and even police aid.

One thought on “DR Congo presidential campaigns draws to three-horse battle

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