DRC authorities crack down on opposition ahead of elections

The Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday dismissed allegations from Human Rights Watch (HRW) that the opposition was encountering intimidation and other forms of repressive obstacles in the lead-up to the presidential elections.

In a report released on Tuesday, HRW stated that opposition presidential candidates and their key personnel had experienced a “series of detentions and limitations on basic freedoms” preceding the December 20 election.

The communications ministry firmly refuted the accusations, stating that it completely rejects them, and further accused “a part of the opposition” of attempting to undermine the credibility of the electoral process.

As the year-end ballot approaches, the political atmosphere in the Democratic Republic of Congo remains tense, with presidential elections coinciding with legislative and provincial votes.

In a separate incident on Thursday, 12 activists associated with a pro-democracy campaign group called Lucha were apprehended while protesting near electoral commission premises in Goma, the capital of the eastern North Kivu province. Lucha’s leader, Bienvenu Matumo, confirmed the arrests.

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