Democratic Republic of Congo heads into high-risk elections

Democratic Republic of Congo heads into high-risk elections
By Robert Hackwill
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Fears of fraud, public unrest, delayed voting and disease; a perfect storm of factors threaten a peaceful vote on Sunday.


Sunday's election in the Democratic Republic of Congo is taking place under gathering storm clouds; it will use controversial voting machines, 8000 of which were lost in a fire, it is over two years late, and was delayed for another week after an Ebola outbreak was declared and ethnic violence broke out in Beni.

Beni and the city of Botembo will now not vote until March, long after their new president is inaugurated, and won't take part on Sunday.

President Kabila cannot stand again. There are three main contenders from a field of 21, Emmanuel Shadary, Martin Fayulu, and Felix Tshisekedi.

Whoever wins faces a herculean task; rebuilding Africa's second-largest country and finding a way for the DRC to benefit more from the vast wealth the world digs up from underneath its soil. It is the world's number one cobalt producer for example, vital for mobile phones. China takes 50% of all DRC's raw material exports.

In Beni people marched in the streets to protest against the electoral commission's decision to delay voting, while in Goma clashes followed calls for a general strike.

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