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Thousands rally in DRCongo against poll body pick

By AFP
Congo The opposition says the new head of the poll body is corrupt and biased.  By Arsene MPIANA (AFP)
NOV 13, 2021 LISTEN
The opposition says the new head of the poll body is corrupt and biased. By Arsene MPIANA (AFP)

Thousands rallied Saturday in the capital of DR Congo to demand a neutral poll body after President Felix Tshisekedi installed a close friend to head the commission.

Tshisekedi's move last month came despite the objection of both Catholic and Protestant religious leaders and the opposition.

The opposition says Denis Kadima, the new head of the CENI (National Independent Electoral Commission), is corrupt and too close to the president.

"Enough is enough," read one banner.

"No to a politicised CENI," said another.

"We want teachers to be paid," said a third, after strikes in the education sector.

Former parliament speaker Aubin Minaku, ex-premier Bruno Tshibala and previous interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary attended the demonstrations.

Some protesters called for the return of former president Joseph Kabila, who ruled the Democratic Republic of Congo for 18 years before Tshisekedi came to power in January 2019.

The current president was chosen in much-delayed elections in December 2018, which were peaceful but marred by accusations of fraud.

The next presidential election is set for December 2023, and Tshisekedi has said he intends to run.

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