'Congo Does Not Take Any Orders From Anybody': Interview With President Joseph Kabila

Joseph Kabila is barred from seeking a third consecutive term as president of Congo, where elections are scheduled later this month. But he doesn't rule out running again in the future.
Joseph Kabila, the outgoing president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, sits in a garden at his personal ranch on Monday. Source: John Wessels

Democratic Republic of the Congo is set to hold long-awaited elections on Dec. 23, despite a fire that has destroyed many of the voting machines and materials meant for the capital Kinshasa.

A presidential adviser blamed Thursday's fire on criminals. The head of the election commission said the equipment will be replaced by surplus materials in other parts of the country and the vote will continue on schedule.

Despite concerns over the vote, Congo's outgoing President Joseph Kabila said earlier this week that his country will hold "perfect elections."

Kabila, who has held power for almost 18 years, is not allowed to run for a third consecutive term. But in an interview, he suggested he will not rule out running again in the future.

For two days this week, Kabila took questions from NPR and other foreign journalists in a rare, wide-ranging encounter — first at the presidential palace in Kinshasa and then at his private ranch.

Although just an hour and a half's drive from Kinshasa, the rolling hills

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