THE Democratic Republic of Congo has never had a peaceful transition of power. Mobutu Sese Seko, the president from 1965 to 1997, fled his jungle palace shortly before it was ransacked by looting soldiers; his successor, Laurent Kabila, was shot by one of his bodyguards. So the country has been on edge as an election, scheduled for December 23rd, draws closer. It is already grappling with an outbreak of Ebola and armed conflicts in ten of its provinces.
The big question was whether Joseph Kabila, the unpopular president (pictured), would run again. Mr Kabila inherited the job from his father, Laurent, in 2001. He is accused of corruption, incompetence and human-rights abuses. The constitution required him to step down when his second term ended in 2016, but he stayed on, citing a clause that allowed him to remain president until a new one was elected. He then repeatedly delayed elections and cracked down hard on those who protested.
As other candidates registered…
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