The incumbent Joseph Kabila has casts his ballot in the second round of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first free election in more than 40 years. He is favourite to defeat his rival the current Vice-President and a former warlord, Jean-Pierre Bemba. A thunderstorm and heavy rain turned Kinshasa’s streets into rivers and hampered voting. A low turnout there could damage Bemba’s chances – it is his stonghold.
Kabila, in the first round, had a 25-point lead. One Kinshasa resident said: “These are difficult conditions but we are really determined and happy despite the rain. The rain won’t to stop us.” Another man said: “We want this to be a victory for the people not for any one person because the person who wins will be everybody’s president. He will not be the president of a particular region or a particular group. All that is finished.”
The vote has been marred by violence. Congolese police killed two people in the north of the country when they opened fire on Bemba supporters to end rioting. Thousands of UN peacekeepers along with EU troops are monitoring the vote. The concern is that futher violence will erupt in the coming days.