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DRC rejects foreign aid to fund elections, says donors’ conditions amount to foreign interference

Democratic Republic of Congo said on Monday it would refuse international financing for a long-delayed presidential election and fund the poll itself, saying donors’ conditions amounted to foreign interference.

According to the government the donors’ conditions amounted to meddling in Congo’s sovereign affairs and urged them to direct their contributions to other sectors such as healthcare and education.

The presidential election – now scheduled for December 23 – has been repeatedly delayed since Joseph Kabila refused to step down at the end of his mandate in 2016, with the government citing financial constraints as a main reason.

The United Nations has asked international donors to contribute $123 million to support presidential, legislative and local elections over the next two years, whose total cost is expected to run to more than $1 billion.

Mende said the government’s decision to reject such aid was prompted in part by an upturn in government revenues from its mining sector, which has left more money to finance the polls.

During the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in 2017, Kabila appealed for support from his “true friends” as his country confronts what he described as major logistical and security challenges to organise elections.

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