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cc image of Congolese ballot via Monusco

A Fire Destroyed Thousands of Voting Machines Days Before Elections in DRC

At least 70 percent of the voting machines have been destroyed by the fire.

A fire, which broke out in the early hours of this morning, has destroyed 70 percent of the voting machines and ballot boxes to be used in the DRC's presidential elections just 10 days away.


Just days away from the long-awaited presidential election that will see the President of the DRC, Joseph Kabila, end his 17-year rule, 7000 out of the 10000 voting machines housed in an electoral commission building in the capital of Kinshasa, were destroyed by a fire. It is not yet known what caused the fire, however, Kabila's adviser, Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, said that the fire was 'criminal in nature' and that the security guards who had been placed outside the building have all since been arrested.

The news of the fire comes just after several people were killed during clashes with the police at an opposition rally on Wednesday. Fears of continued violence are rampant seeing that the DRC has never experienced a peaceful transition of power following its independence from Belgium in 1960. There is constant civil unrest in the country which may at any time flare up and possibly become fully-fledged wars, some analysts have warned.



The use of voting machines has been seen as controversial. Whilst Namibia is the only other African country to make use of the machines during its elections, the country has a considerably smaller population (1.2 million) compared to the DRC's 46 million. The opposition has expressed how it feels the use of these voting machines may allow for manipulation and gross fraud in the upcoming elections in a country where Kabila has hogged power since 2001. There are also concerns that whilst Kabila has agreed to relinquish power, he is planning to ensure that one of his loyalists, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, will be the next president of the DRC.

Officials have reported that the elections will proceed as planned and that the voting machines and ballot boxes lost will be replaced immediately, obtaining voting equipment from other parts of the country and redirecting them to Kinshasa.

The presidential elections are set to take place on the 23rd of December 2018.

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Photo courtesy of CSA Global.

In Conversation with Congolese NBA Player Emmanuel Mudiay: 'I want more African players in the NBA.'

The Utah Jazz player talks about being African in the NBA, supporting basketball in the DRC and how 'everybody knows about Burna Boy'.

Inspired by his basketball-playing older brothers, by second grade, Emmanuel Mudiay already knew that he wanted to play in the American National Basketball Association. Then in 2001 his family, fleeing the war in Democratic Republic of Congo, sought asylum in the United States.

In America, Mudiay saw basketball as a way for him to improve his situation. After impressive high school and college careers, he moved to China to play pro ball. Picked 7th overall in the 2015 NBA draft, the now 23-year-old guard has made a name for himself this season coming off the bench for the Utah Jazz.

Mudiay attests to the sport having changed not only his life but that of his siblings. Basketball gave them all a chance at a good education and the opportunity to dream without conditions. Now he wants to see other talented African players make it too.

We caught up with him to talk about his experience as an African player in the NBA, his hopes for basketball on the African continent and who he and his teammates jam out to in their locker rooms.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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University lecturer and activist Doctor Stella Nyanzi (L) reacts in court as she attends a trial to face charges for cyber-harassment and offensives communication, in Kampala, on April 10, 2017. (Photo by GAEL GRILHOT/AFP via Getty Images)

Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

The outspoken activist, who is currently serving a prison sentence for a poem she wrote about the president's mother's vagina, won for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

Stella Nyanzi, the Ugandan academic, activist, and vocal critic of President Yoweri Museveni has been awarded the 2020 Oxfam Novib/PEN International award for freedom of expression, given to writers who "continue to work for freedom of expression in the face of persecution."

Nyanzi is currently serving a 15 month sentence for "cyber harassment" after she published a poem in which she wrote that she wished "the acidic pus flooding Esiteri's (the president's mother) vaginal canal had burn up your unborn fetus. Burn you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda."

According to the director of PEN International, Carles Torner, her unfiltered outspokenness around the issues facing her country is what earned her the award. "For her, writing is a permanent form of resistance in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her," said Torner at the award ceremony.

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Photo: Ben Depp.

Watch Yilian Canizares & Paul Beaubrun's Beautiful Video For 'Noyé'

"Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Yilian Canizares and Paul Beaubrun connect for the serene "Noyé," one of the highlights from Canizares' latest album, Erzulie.

The Cuban singer and Haitian artist are now sharing the new Arnaud Robert-directed music video for the single, which we're premiering here today.

"Noyé is a song that comes from our roots," Yilian Canizares tells OkayAfrica. "Inspired by the energy of love. The same love that kept Africa's legacy alive in the hearts of Haiti and Cuba. We wanted to do a stripped down version of only the essential pieces from a musical point of view. Something raw and beautiful where our souls would be naked."

The striking music video follows Canizares and Beaubrun to the waters of New Orleans, the universal Creole capital, where they sing and float until meeting on the Mississippi River.

"Noyé is a cry of love from children of African descent," says Paul Beaubrun. "Cuba and Haiti come together to share the love and heritage of our deep rooted culture and spirituality."

Watch the new music video for "Noyé" below.

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Photo by Robert Szaniszlo/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

Kenyan Athlete Eliud Kipchoge Nominated for Sportsman of the Year Award

The record-breaking marathon runner has been nominated for the top prize in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

Sport24 reports that Kenyan athlete and marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge has been nominated for Sportsman of the Year in the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards.

He's made the prestigious nominations list alongside Lionel Messi, Tiger Woods, Lewis Hamilton and Rafael Nadal.

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