The spotlight is on the upcoming elections on December 23, 2018. More than 30 pro-democracy activists have been arrested in the Democratic Republic of Congo after protesting the planned use of controversial new voting machines in the presidential election, which is to be held on December 23, 2018. There is increased tension in the country, especially after the authorities barred two prominent opposition politicians from running. The organisation responsible for the demonstrations, Lucha, is a youth organisation for change and social justice. One of its leaders, Luc Nkulula, died in a mysterious fire in June 2018.
Outbreaks of infections and diseases continue to affect the DRC significantly. This week, a country analysis from the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) shows the extent of the recent outbreak of Ebola in North-Kivu. As of September 3, 2018, 121 cases including 81 deaths (66.9 per cent) have been reported. In addition, 14 suspected cases were being investigated. Ongoing conflict and the presence of hundreds of armed groups in Nord Kivu makes the response to the outbreak extremely challenging. Humanitarian access is limited, and doctors cannot move around the region without military escort. There is a risk that infected patients are discouraged from visiting health facilities due to the precarious security situation. The risk of the virus spreading to neighbouring provinces such as South Kivu, as well as neighbouring countries Uganda and Rwanda is high, especially now that the first case of Ebola has been reported in the border-city of Butembo. The city, which has close to a million inhabitants, is a major trading hub on the DRC-Ugandan border.