Tensions rise ahead of DR Congo presidential election
DR Congo’s presidential election is over a year away, but political tensions are escalating in the vast and volatile country as candidate’s line up and fears grow the vote will be fraudulent.
Elections in the central African nation frequently turn violent, with dozens of protesters killed. They are also often criticised by observers.
But the last presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in 2018, heralded the first peaceful transfer of power in Kinshasa since independence from Belgium in 1960.
The vote was nonetheless marred by accusations of irregularities and the European Union and others cast doubt over its credibility.
According to official results, incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi won, replacing former leader Joseph Kabila after 18 years in power.
Tshisekedi has declared he will stand for president again in a poll planned for late 2023.
However, fears of tampering are already stalking the electoral process, and pressures around political circles in the capital have begun to mount.
Tshisekedi’s ruling coalition in the national assembly recently rejected an amendment to electoral law that would have banned politicians from distributing money during campaigns, for example.