Kabila votes in Congo’s presidential election

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Outgoing Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila cast his ballot in Kinshasa on Sunday in the presidential election that will see him step down after nearly 20 years in power since his father’s assassination in 2001.

Kabila 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.

Reporter asking about concerns over whether election is free and fair, Kabila says elections are ‘free and fair’.

“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.”

“Time will tell. But it’s clear the elections are free and fair, and will definitely be free and fair.”

Former Interior minister and presidential candidate Ramazani Shadary says, “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.

Under Kabila, Congo has seen strong economic growth from surging copper and cobalt output but only meagre improvements to average people’s quality of life.

Another opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi, trailed in the poll with 24 percent, while Shadary got 19 percent.