Elections on 23 December are unlikely to deliver the change Democratic Republic of Congo so badly needs. The outlook is deteriorating as polling day approaches, following deaths at rallies in support of opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, and an apparently deliberate fire in Kinshasa that destroyed controversial voting machines. Fears have been expressed that the elections will be far from free and fair, potentially stoking further conflict as President Joseph Kabila Kabange – who has been in power since 2001 – seeks to hold on to state institutions via his hand-picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.