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Channel Africa does a aspecial live broadcast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) elections.

Date: Dec 14, 2018

Sunday, 23 December 2018 – is anticipated as the day on which the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) goes to national, presidential elections.

 Channel Africa is pleased to announce that it will be hosting a special live broadcast for the DRC elections. This broadcast highlights Channel Africa’s commitment to fulfil one of its core missions, which is to deliver news to listeners the African Perspective way.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is the second largest country in Africa located in the central African region. The country is bordered to the North by the Central Africa Republic and South Sudan; to the East with Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania; to the Zambia and Angola to the South and to the West with the Republic of Congo. The DRC is a former Belgian former colony which got its independence from Belgium on 30th June 1960 after the national elections were held from 11 to25 May 1960 which was won by the Movement National Congolais MNC led by the DRC’s first democratically elected leader and father of the independence Patrice Emery Lumumba. 

Immediately after the country gained independence in 1960, a rebellion broke out in the army which subsequently marked the genesis of the Congolese political and security crisis. Patrice Lumumba requested for the assistance of the United States of America and the United Nations to suppress that rebellion which was supported by the former colonizer Belgium which was advocating for the session of Katanga province. The US and UN refused Lumumba’s request, who then turned to the Soviet Union for support. This resulted to increasing tensions between Lumumba and the president at the time Joseph Kasavubu and the chief of the army Joseph-Désiré Mobutu who was supported by the US and Belgium during the cold war against the Soviet Union.

Patrice Lumumba was arrested in Kisangani which is the third largest city of the DRC fleeing mutinying soldiers in Kinshasa and was transported to Katanga where he was imprisoned by soldiers under the command of Mobutu and later killed on 17th January 1961 at the age of 35.

In 1964, Mobutu led a military coup d’état against the government and took power leading the country under dictatorship for 32 years until he was toppled by Laurent Kabila’s rebel forces AFDL on 17th May 1997.  However, in 1998 a new rebellion broke out in the East of the country which threatened to tear the country into pieces and involved as many as 9 other African countries’ armies. Laurent Kabila was later assassinated on 16th January 2001. He was succeeded by his son Joseph Kabila at the age of 29 and has been in power since then. He was elected in 2006, and secured another term in highly disputed elections in 2011

It is important to note that the DRC is the largest Francophone speaking country in Africa, with vast natural mineral live resources. The DRC has an estimated population of 79.8 million citizens of which less than 40% in urban areas. The DRC has Africa’s largest arable land estimated to be 80 million hectares and over 1,100 different minerals and precious metals useful for modern technological and industrial development. For instance, the DRC has 64% of the world reserves of Colton used in the manufacturing of computers and mobile phones and other mineral such as cobalt which is a strategic and critical mineral resource that is essential for aerospace and military manufacturing equipment. The country has the potential to become one of the richest countries on the continent and a driver of African growth if it can overcome its political instability. DR Congo is a vast country with immense economic resources which have been at the source of what some observers call "Africa's world war", with widespread civilian suffering as a result. The war claimed an up to six million lives according to the UN estimate, either as a direct result of fighting or because of disease and malnutrition. The war has had both devastating economic as well as political ramifications in the lives of the Congolese people.  It is believed that the war in the DRC is often caused by the country's vast mineral wealth, with rebels groups and the government officials taking advantage of the lawlessness to plunder natural resources.  The UN has estimated that 140 militia groups still operate in the east, where a large United Nations force is struggling to keep the peace.

Kabila rejected calls for him to leave office when his term expired in December 2016. Elections, twice delayed, are due to be held in December 2018, but opposition groups which are deeply divided have little hope that the elections will be fair and credible. Public demonstrations have been banned since September 2016 when dozens of demonstrators were killed by the police of the order of the interior minister Ramazani Shadary and 13 other high ranking government officials sanctioned by the European Union for their role in human rights violations in the county.

Presidential and parliamentary elections were initially scheduled for November 2016, but were further delayed due to an outdated electoral register. Efforts to resolve the political crisis in the country were made by the African Union's appointed facilitator Edem Kodjo a former Togolese diplomat and the Catholic Church in Congo, both acting as mediators between the government and the opposition parties.  An agreement between the opposition and the government was signed on 31st December 2016 which provided for a period of transition during which Joseph Kabila would have jointly exercised power with the opposition until presidential elections were to be held on 19th December 2017.

However, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) issued a calendar in November 2017, pushing back the presidential elections to December 2018, and a controversial draft electoral law was passed by parliament. Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church in Congo and the international community have persistently insisted that the December 31, 2016 Accord with opposition parties be respected but the Kabila government has flatly ignored these calls. Demonstrations supporting the implementation of this accord have led to deaths at the hands of the security forces. The country finally holding the presidential and parliamentary elections on 23rd December 2018 but there still persistent insecurity in the East of country with estimated 4 million internally displaced people and the outbreak of Ebola has killed 248 people in North Kivu province.

The elections are being contested by 17 presidential candidates. The main leading candidates include:

  1. Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, former governor of Maniema Province and Interior Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the handpicked successor of president Joseph Kabila. He is contesting the elections on the ticket of the ruling coalition of FCC (Common Front for Congo).
  2. Félix Tshisekedi a son of the later Etienne Tshisekedi and leader of the opposition party of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress supported by Vital Kamerhe leader of the Union pour la Nation Congolaise (UNC). Both leaders pulled out of the Geneva agreement which brought all main opposition leaders in the country to rally around a common candidate of the opposition.
  3. Martin Fayulu, a 62 year old businessman turned politician and little known member of parliament who is   supported by five opposition leaders including Jean-Pierre Bemba was disqualified to contest the elections over the charges of witness bribery at the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Moïse Katumbi, a former governor of the mineral rich Katanga province who was barred from entering the country from self-imposed exile after falling out with Kabila’s government.

The special live broadcast is not only conceptualised to entertain but to also educate the masses through the power of radio. To be part of the conversation please do tune onto www.channelafrica.co.za or DSTV 802 from 8h00 till 16h00 CAT.

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