DRC elec­tion banks on peace­ful power trans­fer

China Daily - - WORLD - By LU­CIE MORANGI in Nairobi lucy­morangi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Votes con­tinue to be counted in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tions as mon­i­tors hope for a peace­ful tran­si­tion of power for the first time in 17 years. The In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (CENI) is ex­pected to an­nounce the de­fin­i­tive re­sults on Jan 15 with a new pres­i­dent sworn in on Jan 18.

The restive coun­try has ex­pe­ri­enced height­ened ten­sions and de­lays in the run up to the vote to elect a new leader af­ter Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila’s two-term limit ex­pired in 2016.

Her­man Man­yara, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst based in Nairobi, Kenya said the elec­tions, held on Dec 30, ended the air of un­cer­tain­ties that had en­gulfed the coun­try af­ter the long-awaited elec­tion was post­poned again late last year with CENI blam­ing a fire that de­stroyed elec­toral ma­te­ri­als in the cap­i­tal Kin­shasa in De­cem­ber.

“Ma­jor po­lit­i­cal play­ers have par­tic­i­pated in the elec­toral process and this is en­cour­ag­ing. What re­mains to be seen is a peace­ful trans­fer of power, par­tic­u­larly if the can­di­date sup­ported by in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent Ka­bila con­cedes. This will be good.”

Em­manuel Shadary, 58, is among three front-run­ners who are vy­ing for the pres­i­dency. The other two are Felix Tshisekedi, 55, and Mar­tin Fayulu, 62.

While call­ing it a ma­jor gift to Africa, Man­yara said the rel­a­tively peace­ful elec­tion has buoyed con­fi­dence in the process. This is de­spite part of the coun­try be­ing barred from par­tic­i­pat­ing due to po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence and an Ebola out­break. More than 1 mil­lion reg­is­tered vot­ers did not get the chance to cast a bal­lot.

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