Jean-Pierre Kalamba waved his hand over a map of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African nation that has delayed elections for two years since the president, Joseph Kabila, refused to resign after his term ended in 2016. Kalamba, an election official, said the government is struggling to raise the $1.8 billion the electoral commission says it needs to run the next poll, set for December 23. The commission’s budget goes through the legislature, controlled by Kabila’s party — the same people the opposition accuses of delaying the elections. He added, mistrust between politicians is at fever pitch, nearly every step the commission takes is scrutinized and criticized.
Kalamba said bogging down the process is that Congo is the size of Western Europe, has few paved roads, low literacy levels, and chronic insecurity. He said thousands of candidates are vying for a slice of power, and the 2011 ballot was 53 pages and weighed more than 300 grams.
Anger against the current administration recently bubbled up in city streets, and the government’s harsh response, which left at least six protesters dead, has further inflamed tensions.
Full Article: Unresolved Issues Overshadow Congo’s Vital December Poll.