BENI, Congo — Voters who weren’t given the prospect to participate in Congo’s presidential election due to the Ebola epidemic and violence forged legislative ballots Sunday amid persevering with resentment.
Residents in japanese Congo’s cities of Beni and Butembo weren’t included within the January presidential vote. On the time authorities officers mentioned the choice was made due to Ebola, though the present outbreak stays a risk, with the variety of circumstances nonetheless rising this previous week.
Voters needed to wash their palms earlier than getting into polling stations Sunday in an effort to forestall illness transmission. Ebola, a extremely lethal virus, is transmitted by means of contact with the bodily fluids of sick individuals.
Kathembo Malikidogo, a 48-year-old farmer, forged his poll in Beni for nationwide and regional legislatures although he stays upset about what occurred in January. Malikidogo stays skeptical concerning the purpose given for stopping the individuals of Beni from voting within the presidential election.
“We voted at present regardless of Ebola so why did they refuse (in January) to allow us to vote?” he requested. “I believe it was a political transfer to dam us out.”
Polling stations additionally had been open in Butembo, now the epicenter of the Ebola epidemic that’s now the second deadliest in historical past with greater than 1,00zero deaths. And voters may participate Sunday as nicely in Yumbi, the place the January vote was referred to as off due to intercommunal violence.
The choice to cancel the presidential elections in areas hit by Ebola solely additional deepened the suspicion that the epidemic was getting used for political or monetary achieve, observers say. Well being employees have struggled to get sick individuals to hunt remedy in well being facilities, leading to these with Ebola infecting others because of this.
A research revealed final week in The Lancet Infectious Illnesses journal discovered that one-fourth of the individuals surveyed again in September in Beni and Butembo believed Ebola wasn’t actual.
Related Press writers Saleh Mwanamilongo in New York and Krista Larson in Dakar, Senegal contributed to this report.
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