News broke last week that former President Thabo Mbeki had been appointed by President Ramaphosa as SA’s special envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His intended task was to help resolve any issues President Joseph Kabila, or those standing for election, might have before the presidential poll, which has been set for December 23 2018. However, the DRC rejected the appointment, indicating it fears foreign interference in its electoral process. Earlier this year, the DRC government rejected foreign aid to fund its elections, citing the same reason. Whilst recent developments generated cautious optimism about the electoral process, both SA’s appointment of a high-calibre envoy and the DRC’s rejection are clear signs that further hurdles can be expected. On August 8, the window officially closed for those who intend to run in the DRC’s presidential election to submit their application to the DRC’s electoral commission. This follows weeks of speculation over whose names woul...

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