DRC: elections to continue on Thursday

Polls opened in the Democratic Republic of Congo amid delays in some polling stations in the country. Hundreds of voters turned up early to cast their ballots but had to wait for over three hours for officials to start the election process.  Nearly 44 million eligible voters have been registered to vote in this year’s elections that are being held amidst armed conflict in the country’s east.

Our DRC correspondent Chris Ocamringa has more from Kinshasa

Voting in the Democratic Republic of Congo was beset by delays in some polling stations in the capital Kinshasa and other parts of the country.

The process started after more than three hours in some areas.

But Congolese citizens braved the heat to decide who will lead their country that is grappling with an armed conflict and widespread poverty.

Nineteen presidential candidates are in the race. But the main contest is expected to be between the incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi, and wealthy businessman Moise Katumbi.

Other leading contenders are former oil executive Martin Fayulu and 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Dennis Mukwege.

The elections are being held amid a climate of instability in the east and western parts of the country.

Officials at the Electoral Commission say people living in 3 territories in those regions will not participate in the polls.

The DRC has only had one peaceful transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

This year’s election is considered crucial for consolidating democracy and improving the lives of millions of Congolese citizens who’ve been displaced by conflict.