Some 46 million people are casting ballots Sunday in long-delayed Democratic Republic of Congo presidential and parliamentary elections.
According to Francis Longwa, assistant supervisor for the Independent Electoral Commission in the capital Kinshasa, reports from most parts of the Central African country indicate the polls are going peacefully. Voting is set to end at 5 p.m. local time (1600GMT).
"Apart from areas where elections were postponed due to an Ebola outbreak, in all other parts of the country polling is taking place,” said Longwa in a statement from the commission. “Many people have turned up, and so far the exercise is going on normally.”
In some areas polling was delayed for hours due to the lack of electronic voting machines or voter registries, said Longwa. In some rural areas, voting materials arrived late due to bad roads, he added.
He said outgoing President Joseph Kabila and his wife have already voted at a polling station in Kinshasa, adding: ''It is good that he has shown all citizens how to fulfill their civic duty.''
Police and army forces have been deployed across the country to keep security at all polling places. Police warned they would deal with anyone trying to disrupt the elections with an iron hand.
In Aru, in the eastern part of the country, voter Amon Kibenge said he was casting his ballot because the elections are meant to shape the future of his country.
''I walked over 10 miles to the polling center so that I could vote in these important elections, which mean a lot as far as the future of our country is concerned,'' he said.
Kabila's term was supposed to end two years ago, but he refused to hold elections, saying that most people had not been registered.
Polls show Felix Tshisekedi, Martin Fayulul, and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary as the front-runners for the presidency.