Police in Kinshasa fired tear gas to disperse a group of opposition leaders and their followers who were attempting to access the offices of the electoral commission. They were protesting against what they term as the electoral chaos they believe is imminent in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The opposition further expressed their dissatisfaction with the police’s actions, claiming that they were being denied their democratic right to protest and demanding fair elections in the upcoming polls.
Delly Sesanga, an opposition leader, stated, “The police are being utilised by the authorities to restrict our freedoms, and we do not accept that. The police are not our interlocutor; our interlocutors are the public authorities. It is the CENI that must organise free, democratic, and transparent elections, and not anyone else.”
Elections in the DRC have never been a smooth process, often marred by violent protests, particularly from the opposition and religious groups advocating for transparency in the process.
Martin Fayulu, the main opposition figure, echoed similar sentiments by calling for a fair and transparent election. He said, “We are within our rights. We cannot, under any circumstances, subject ourselves like beasts of burden, be taken to rigged elections, and then afterward everyone will say ‘we have taken note.’ No. We are demanding our rights, the rights of the Congolese, the rights of Congolese who have not yet been born.”
The current president, Felix Tshisekedi, who assumed office in January 2019 following a controversial election, has already expressed his intention to run for re-election.
Tshisekedi may face Martin Fayulu, who continues to claim that he won the 2018 election but was denied victory.
Former Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo (2012-2016) has also announced his intention to run.
According to the electoral authorities, the main challenge remains insecurity.