Polls in DR Congo have been delayed by a week due to an alleged spate of ethnic violence, an ongoing Ebola outbreak and challenges emanating from a recent fire that destroyed crucial material at an election commission warehouse. The delay to the election which has been a norm since 2016 has angered supporters of the DRC’s fractured opposition.
The second biggest country in Africa has a long history of political turmoil and violence and has never had a peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960. In 1996-1997 and 1998-2003 it experienced wars that left millions either dead or homeless. Since 2014, hundreds of the county’s civilians have succumbed to death from armed militia and Ebola.
The ominous cloud hanging over DR Congo is a test to the African Solutions to African Problems mantra. The African Union must urgently do everything within its means to ensure that the country safely transitions. However, looking at the numerous geopolitical forces at play in the region which are not ready to let go, the country has a herculean task to stabilize.