KINSHASHA– The Electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has announced that three towns in the country will not be involved in the elections until March 2019 due to an ongoing Ebola epidemic in these towns.
The commission announced that Beni, Butembo towns in eastern Congo and Yumbi in the west will hold their polls in March next year.
The body said that there is the persistence of the Ebola epidemic in Beni, North Kivu province as well as the terrorist threat and several deadly attacks in Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe province.
Elections were initially set for December 23, 2018, but were pushed to December 30 due to fire outbreak that gutted electoral materials few days to the voting date.
According to the new program, voting will take place on Sunday, December 30.
However, the opposition has criticised the electoral process, asserting that elections will not be free and fair.
Felix Tshisekedi, one of the standing opposition candidates said that if the polls are again delayed further than December 30, his supporters would take to the streets.
Another opposition leader Martin Fayulu, on Wednesday, tweeted his concern about Ebola being used as an excuse to stop elections.
“I caution (the electoral commission) against any attempt to cancel the elections in Beni city, Beni territory and Butembo. The pretext of Ebola is fallacious … This is yet another strategy to divert the truth from the polls,” he tweeted.
It is proven that Ebola is spread via the bodily fluids of infected people and it’s a deadly disease which has infected hundreds of people but authorities have said they were preparing for the vote by deploying tons of hand sanitizer for use in polling stations, where people will tap on the touchscreens of voting machines to choose candidates.
The government also said people entering the polling stations will be screened for fevers.