DRC - Warnings Sounded On Voting Machines As PM Assures Polls On Track
This week the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Bruno Tshibala provided further assurance that elections are still on track for 23 December 2018, having been postponed from their constitutionally proscribed date in 2016 when President Kabila's second and final term was due to expire.
Speaking during a visit to London, Tshibala responded to ongoing concerns that further delays to the process may yet emerge. Tensions in the country are high, with protests and unrest resulting in regular fatalities and violent crack downs by the state forces.
Meanwhile, the introduction of new voting machines has received a mixed reception after they broke down during a demonstration to representatives in parliament, not for the first time. The opposition Union for the Congolese Nation and Movement for the Liberation of Congo has already issued an official complaint concerning the machines, which enable voters to tap the name of their chosen candidate before printing the ballot paper with their selection.
The national election commission (CENI) has defended the machines, however, saying they are critical for ensuring the election timetable proceeds as scheduled and that it plans to roll out around 100,000 units for the polls.
In addition to the flawed demonstrations, warnings have also been sounded concerning the unreliable power supply and ability of the technology to function at heat. There are those who have also questioned whether the machines and their malfunctions could in fact be a ploy to see elections delayed beyond 2018.