Delays mars start to Congos presidential vote in Eastern Congo


Voting in Democratic Republic of Congo’s long-anticipated presidential election got off to a shaky start on Sunday (December 30) due to long delays at some polling stations in the east.

In the eastern city of Goma, where the weather was clear, residents were casting their votes but one of the machines broke down and another polling station in the city was still closed 90 minutes after polls opened at 6 a.m (0400 GMT).

Some voters in Goma were not familiar with the machines they were using to vote and had to ask electoral officials for help further slowing down the process.

Three opposition strongholds will see no casting of ballots at all after the authorities cancelled the vote there, citing health risks from an ongoing Ebola outbreak and ethnic violence.

Despite repeated delays to the election, which was originally meant to take place in 2016, diplomats and poll observers have said authorities are ill-prepared, raising fears of a repeat of the violence that followed elections in 2006 and 2011.

The last polls close at 5 p.m., although voting will continue for those still in line.

Voters are also choosing representatives for the national and provincial assemblies.

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