DR Congo says on course to hold vote in December

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election is on course to be conducted in December, the country’s Prime Minister Bruno Tshibala said on Thursday.

The central African country failed to hold the vote to replace President Joseph Kabila as scheduled in November 2016, with the electoral authority saying this was due to logistical challenges.

“I committed in front of our country’s representatives in May last year to my mission which was to bring the Congolese people to elections this year, and I confirm that in December this year the Congolese people will be brought to the ballot boxes,” Reuters news agency quotes Tshibala.

The failure to hold the vote sparked violence in the DR Congo, which has since forced thousands to flee their homes.

“There were setbacks which caused this delay,” Tshibala said. “But this time our course is set for elections and they will take place on December 23.”

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley in October visited the DR Congo to push for the election, warning that her country would cease funding projects there if the elections are not held before the end of this year.

Opposition leaders accused Kabila of sabotaging the election in order to cling on to power, an allegation he denied.

He is ineligible to run for another mandate, having already served the constitutionally allowed two terms.