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DRC can’t afford presidential election – budget minister

DRC Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia says the poll this year will cost $1.8 billion, which the country can’t afford.

FILE: A protester holds a book of the DRC's constitution in defiance against President Joseph Kabila at a protest at the country's embassy in Pretoria in 2016. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) government says the country will not be able to afford an agreed presidential election this year.

Hundreds of people took to the streets of the DRC last year demanding that President Joseph Kabila step down when his term ended in December.

DRC Budget Minister Pierre Kangudia says the poll this year will cost $1.8 billion, which the country can’t afford.

President Kabila’s mandate ran out last November. He wanted to delay elections until the DRC drew up a voter’s roll.

But persistent protests cost him more than 50 lives and forced him to agree to a poll this year.

The death earlier this year of opposition giant Étienne Tshisekedi might have persuaded him that he could put off the inevitable.

His opponents say this is yet another attempt to cling to power.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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