A fire ignited in an Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) building on Avenue des Forces Armées in Kinshasa early (local time) on Thursday, December 13, destroying over two-thirds of the capital's electronic voting machines ahead of the December 23 general elections. Heightened political tensions and related political demonstrations are possible in Kinshasa in the lead-up to the elections. An increased security presence and localized traffic disruptions are to be expected near protest sites. Clashes between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Several clashes have erupted during political events held ahead of the December 23 elections, notably in Kalemie, Lubumbashi, Tshikapa, Kindu, and Mbuji-Mayi. At least five people died on December 11-12 during campaign events in Lubumbashi and Kalemie. At least one person was killed in clashes in Mbuji-Mayi on December 13.
The DRC will hold presidential and legislative elections on December 23. President Kabila, whose term ended in 2016 but has remained in power due to election delays, announced he will not seek reelection in 2018 and has endorsed Interior Minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.
Individuals in the DRC are advised to monitor the political situation, avoid all protests and political demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments, and refrain from discussing sensitive political topics in public.
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