DRC election body to strive for free, fair polls despite attack on building

FILE PHOTO - Joseph Kabila Kabange, President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo addresses the 72nd United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 23, 2017. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

PRETORIA – The Electoral Commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo says it will strive to have a free and fair election in the central African giant in nine days’ time, despite most of the voting machines being destroyed by a fire in the capital Kinshasa.

It is not clear who started the blaze at the commission’s warehouse in the early hours of Thursday morning.

While President Joseph Kabila says criminals torched the Electoral Commission’s warehouse, the police guarding it have been arrested.

Kabila’s opponents accused him of the arson in a bid to delay the poll that’s already two years late.

Police have fired on opposition supporters in two cities, killing three people.

Diplomats in Kinshasa expressed concerns at the lack of observers watching the poll, which will have 46 million voters.

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