Opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo have warned any further delay to Sunday’s scheduled Congo presidential vote would not be accepted by the people.
The Presidential election, which has been delayed several times since 2016, is now set to take place on Dec. 30. The election, which was previously set to be held on Sunday, December 23, was rescheduled by the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) after a fire in an election commission warehouse destroyed 80 percent of the voting machines in the capital, Kinshasa, earlier this month.
Addressing supporters, The Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) secretary-general Jean-Marc Kabund said any further delays in the election would not be accepted and that the new election date was “a red line”.
“If there is a delay of the election after the 30th, you don’t need to wait for our instructions,” Kabund told supporters, reported Africa News.
One of the leading opposition candidates, Felix Tshisekedi, urged his supporters to stay calm despite the electoral board’s (CENI) decision to postpone voting. However, he accused the CENI, which the opposition says follows the government orders, of trying to provoke his followers to protest in order to later accuse them of causing unrest.
“We are aware of this strategy,” Tshisekedi said at the headquarters of his Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party. “That’s why I ask you to remain calm and respect the position that we are announcing.”
The CENI, on the other hand, has repeatedly defended itself against charges of bias, claiming that it acts independently.
The voting will be done to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who will be stepping down after reigning for 18 long years. Kabila has been in power since 2001. He refused to leave office at the end of his second term in 2016 and only reluctantly agreed not to stand this time around.