Kabila: I’m confident vote will be free and fair

Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila displays ink on his hand after casting his vote at a polling station in Kinshasa, December 30, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Outgoing Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila has once again voiced his confidence in a “free and fair” vote in the DR Congo, in elections that will see him step down after nearly 20 years in power.

Speaking to the media after casting his ballot in Kinshasa on Sunday, Kabila said he had no concerns about the elections other than low voter turnout due to heavy rains.

“I don’t have any concerns as I speak to you. My only concern is that we have this very heavy rain and probably voter turnout might be low, but hopefully the skies will clear, and the voters will turn out in numbers,” he said.

Responding to concerns by critics of possible vote fraud, Kabila said: “Time will tell.”

The President voted at the same school as the candidate he is backing, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, whom the latest opinion polls showed trailing two opposition candidates.

After casting his ballot he called on the Congolese people to come out and cast their votes peacefully.

“I have just voted and I am now satisfied because today is the result of the electoral process we started several years ago. What I am asking the Congolese people to do is to like me, to vote and avoid any incident because it is in our best interest that it goes peacefully. I think victory is on my side and that tonight I will be president.”

The most recent poll released by New York University’s Congo Research Group on Friday showed former Exxon Mobil manager and opposition lawmaker Martin Fayulu leading the race on 47 percent, buoyed by discontent with Kabila’s 18-year tenure.