News24

Congo army ready to contain chaos

2011-12-05 22:25

Kinshasa - Democratic Republic of Congo's government will call in the army if street protests become "too chaotic", a senior member of President Joseph Kabila's camp said on Monday, a day before full election results are due.

At least 18 people have been killed so far in election-related violence in the central African state, according to Human Rights Watch, amid allegations by opposition figures that the November 28 polls were mismanaged and fraudulent.

"We cannot let chaos prevail. If the situation became too chaotic for the police, we will definitely call for the army to come and help," Kikaya Bin Karubi, Congo's ambassador to Britian and a top official in Kabila's camp, told Reuters.

International efforts are under way to defuse what many fear could escalate into a crisis after results are released in the country, still scarred by a 1998-2003 war.

A national mediation commission is in place and former Zambian President Rupiah Banda may be involved in further talks, sources said.

Karubi said mediation was a "non-starter" as there was no current conflict, though a spokesman for Banda said he had been approached and was ready to travel to Congo.

"He is just waiting for the UN to send a plane for him to travel. He has accepted to mediate," a spokesperson for Banda told Reuters, asking not to be named.

Top opposition challenger Etienne Tshisekedi enjoys broad support in Congo's sprawling capital Kinshasa, raising worries a Kabila win will spark unrest in the city of 10 million people.

Leaving Kinshasa

There was a heavy security presence in many parts of Kinshasa on Monday and women and children piled into boats along the Congo River to leave the country for Congo Republic on the other bank, fearing an outbreak of violence.

"We decided to leave Kinshasa for Brazzaville to stay with family while we wait and see how things develop," said Paulette Pombo, a 43-year-old who sells drinks at a Kinshasa market.

Partial preliminary results released so far - representing about half the ballots cast - show Kabila with a sizeable lead over Tshisekedi. Full preliminary results are due on Tuesday.

Congo's Catholic Church urged election authorities on Sunday to ensure published poll results were a true reflection of voters' intentions and warned that a dispute over the election could trigger major unrest.

Congo's election commission defied all odds to hold the presidential and parliamentary poll last week. Often chaotic and at times violent, voting had to be stretched over three days due to delays in places.

International observers have warned that the various steps of the counting process after the initial tally at polling stations have been poorly organised, with ballots and results sheets often being lost or destroyed in the process.

Kabila's camp has said the president would accept defeat. But it accused the opposition of readying people for protests and said he will not tolerate any threats to his authority on the streets in the event of him winning.

The November 28 poll was the first locally organised and funded election since the official end of years of war in 2003. Kabila won a United Nations-backed vote in 2006, offering hope that the mineral-rich, crisis-riddled giant may stabilise.

Congo's government has beefed up security in anticipation of the announcement of the results. UN peacekeepers, Congolese riot police and heavily armed presidential guard soldiers patrolled the streets of Kinshasa.

Comments
  • Paris - 2011-12-06 00:04

    This kabila representative has forgotten one thing that the army he is talking about has been neglected and not paid for years and not equiped at all.Their families are starving just like the masses in DRC.We know kabila is un agent of paul kagame of rwanda and working for him in DRC and that kagame has sent 20,ooo soldiers to protect his agent kabila.But Mr kikaya,guess what the people are ready to face you head-on tomorrow.the congolese army will just turn their guns on you traitors and evils.Rendez-vous tomorrow.

  • Tengere - 2011-12-06 08:53

    Yes and then we will have Tshisekedi. Is he any better? How will he change corrupt deputies and ministers? Congolese are born into a corrupt society. They grow up like that and corruption and chaos is what they are used to. They will stay poor for that. They do not understand structure and future planning.

      Hilander - 2011-12-07 11:22

      Tengere: The respect of the will of the people is the begining of any change. Things will change only if Congolese voice can be heard, Congolese can concentrate to change their country(corruption, structures, planning...) only if they are behind their leader. Dont think Congo is the only corrupt country and congolese cant organize things. A leader people can love and trust is the only one who can help a country to progress. You guys have to stop supporting leaders Congolese dont choose. All congolse need to build their country is: 1st PEACE who can come only when they will be free to have a leader they love.

  • adrien.kalombo - 2011-12-06 09:51

    This so-called army is not even a congolese army, it iS MERCENARIES from Rwanda, Angola, Ouganda so on and so forth. The international media is so bias all against Tshisekedi, the international community is especially the stupid SARKOZY....THIS IS PATHETIC WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE SO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAN HAVE ALL THE NATURAL RESOURCES, 7 MILLION DEAD SINCE 1997-2011 HOW MANY MORE...THIS MORE DEAD PEOPLE THEAN THE HOLOCAUST....

  • Guelord - 2011-12-06 20:18

    This so-called international organisation bought nothing but misery; they are there for their own interest It’s evident that they need African countries to be in chaos so they can generate enough income to satisfy they wants Should peace be restore in Africa, they will go bankrupt……bunch of crooks!!! Hiding themselves with the expertise of being peacekeeper

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