Prominent political prisoners freed in DRC

DR Congo's new president Félix Tshisekedi approved the release
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, 700 prisoners have been freed by the new president Félix Tshisekedi.  

Among their number are three prominent political prisoners - Franck Diongo, Diomi Ndongala and Firmin Yangambi - who were arrested on various charges, including insurrection, under the former president, Joseph Kabila. 

They were supposed to be released in 2015 as part of a deal struck after negotiations led by catholic church bishops preparing delayed elections. Chief of Staff to the president of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Vital Kamerhe, broke the news to the nation.

And watching it all unfold was the BBC's Gaius Kowene...

What's behind the Catholic church's comments on the DRC elections?

The church believes there is a clear winner...but won't say who
The Roman Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo has said it believes there is a clear winner of the presidential election...but that they will not say who.

The comments follow a warning from the information minister for people to "resist the temptation to broadcast results" before the official tally from the electoral commission, Céni, due on Sunday.

The National Episcopal conference says exit poll results they collected from Sunday's elections show which candidate has won - but the bishops want the electoral commission to release hand-counted results from each polling station "to dispel any suspicion".   

Jason Stearns, who runs the Congo Research Group, explains why their statement might be a 'game changer'...

(Photo: Voters in Kinshasa in December 2018. Credit: Getty Images)

DR Congo bans rallies in Kinshasa

Louise Dewast

Kinshasa, DR Congo

People walk in front of campaign banners of the ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary in Kinshasa, DR Congo
Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary is the outgoing president's favoured successor

All campaign rallies have been banned in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for security reasons ahead of Sunday's presidential election.

The city's governor, Andre Kimbuta - who is a member of the party in power - said he had received information that what he called "extremists" from the camps of all the presidential candidates were planning a confrontation in the streets.

One of the opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu, has already hit out at the move.

His team say authorities are trying to stop him from campaigning.

With President Joseph Kabila due to step down, this election is the first time the country is changing its leadership via a vote since independence - previous transitions of power have all been violent.

Mr Kabila's favoured successor is Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, his former interior minister.

His strongest rivals are Mr Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

A motorbike taxi drives past campaign posters in the district of Lingwala in Kinshasa, DR Congo
Kinshasa is considered an opposition stronghold
Democratic Republic of Congo''s 'vanishing' road
This road, in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is part of a decade-old deal between the government and Chinese investors. But many projects remain unfinished.