Speaking to DW, President Kabila confirmed that the election to determine his successor will take place on Sunday after a delay of one week. However residents of some Ebola-affected areas will have to wait until March.
Around 3 percent of DR Congo’s 40 million eligible voters will have to wait until March 2019 to cast their ballots, long after the successor to President Joseph Kabila has been decided. The rest of the country will finally go to the polls on Sunday after more than two years of delays and a last-minute postponement of one week after a fire in the capital Kinshasa destroyed a large amount of voting materials. Saleh Mwanamilongo, a correspondent for DW’s Kiswahili Service, spoke to President Kabila about some of the difficulties surrounding the general elections.
Your Excellency, the elections have been postponed in the cities of Beni, Butembo and Yumbi but today [Thursday] there is chaos as a result. The opposition, together with residents in those areas, have said the postponement is a result of political reasons and not due to the Ebola disease. What is your comment on the postponement of the elections?
President Joseph Kabila: I think the answer is that the electoral commission CENI has come up with an answer which has been made clear to all of us. And the answer from CENI is that the elections have been postponed until the Ebola disease has been brought under control. They have announced the elections will be held in March next year with the hope the disease will have been brought under control by then.
The second issue is the security of the people themselves. You know, and it is known everywhere, that we have been having problems with killings taking place, especially of residents, particularly in Beni, where we have lost so many people. And it is not only citizens, we have also lost soldiers in our fight against the ADF (Allied Democratic Forces) rebels. Soldiers of the United Nations peacekeeping force have also been lost. So those are the two big reasons that CENI talked about.
Another area is Yumbi. There we have had problems, including fighting between two tribes, that have forced many people to run away. You cannot organise elections in areas where people have been dispersed or displaced. Elections will be held in March in those areas, according to CENI. So, it is an election that has been postponed, not an election that has been cancelled.