Only two years late, but the election date has finally been set by the Electoral Commission.  This body presumably had the approval of President Kabila prior to the announcement.  He has otherwise continued to be quite quiet about his future intentions.  To be fair to him, the examples of successful presidents in Africa voluntarily giving up power are very sparse.

U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley last month said during a visit to Kinshasa that elections needed to be held by the end of 2018 or Congo would lose international support.  It’s unknown how influential this pressure was on the election call but since Kabila was opening talking about a 2019 election, Haley’s tougher talk likely had an impact.

Meanwhile, Congolese can legitimately wonder what difference an election will make in their lives.  To be sure, there is much more stability compared to 12 years ago, but the government has not yet rooted out all the violence.  Dorcas is still taking in orphans.  In her latest message with my translation:  We are in the hospital today with the new cases of 3 month old twins.  As they were nursing with their own mums before arrival, it is now very difficult for them to take the milk bottle.  We have to make sure that we can nurture the orphans for their growth, teach them a holistic life and put them back into their own families or communities.  Pray for us because the service is very heavy.