DRC – Democratic Republic of Congo will today commence electing of new leaders across various levels of governance, including the presidential, parliamentary, provincial, and municipal levels.
A staggering 44 million people have registered to cast their votes in this electoral process in the vast and economically challenged central African nation, which boasts a population of approximately 100 million.
The presidential race adopts a first-past-the-post voting system, presenting President Felix Tshisekedi, 60, vying for a second five-year term, with a favorable prospect of success amidst a fragmented opposition.
Just days before the election, numerous presidential candidates withdrew, resulting in a field of 18 contenders alongside the incumbent.
Moise Katumbi, a 58-year-old business tycoon and former provincial governor, is widely considered to pose the most formidable challenge to Tshisekedi.
Another prominent opposition figure is Martin Fayulu, 67, who claims to be the rightful winner of the 2018 election that brought the current president to power.
In a notable addition, Denis Mukwege, a 68-year-old gynecologist and recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for his advocacy on behalf of rape victims, is also in the running for the presidency. Despite his international acclaim, Mukwege has maintained a low profile in recent days after a subdued campaign.
All candidates have made similar pledges, emphasizing promises of generating employment, resolving conflicts in the eastern region, and advancing infrastructure development.
The Democratic Republic of Congo, despite its extensive mineral wealth, remains one of the world’s poorest countries, with over two-thirds of its population surviving on less than $2.15, as reported by the World Bank.
Concerns persist about the capacity of the Congolese electoral commission to conduct a timely and organized ballot. The DRC, comparable in size to continental Western Europe and characterized by scarce road infrastructure, presents logistical challenges.
However, Congolese government spokesman Patrick Muyaya reassures voters that they will be able to “elect their new leaders in peace and serenity.
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