DRC elections lack credibility - Centre

2011-12-11 10:21
Kinshasa - International election observers from the Carter Centre say the November 28 polls won by DR Congo President Joseph Kabila were so marred by irregularities they were not credible.

"The Carter Centre finds the provisional presidential election results announced by the Independent National Election Commission on December 9 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to lack credibility," the non-profit group founded by former US president Jimmy Carter said in a statement.

"Multiple locations... reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100% voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent President Joseph Kabila.

"These and other observations point to mismanagement of the results process and compromise the integrity of the presidential election."

Kabila, in power since 2001, won 49% of the vote, giving him a new five-year term, according to results released by the election commission on Friday.

Veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi came second with 32%.

The non-profit Carter Centre said its observers gave a rating of "poor" to 40% of the compilation centres where results were tabulated.

It reported irregularities including the loss of nearly 2 000 polling station results in Kinshasa, a Tshisekedi stronghold, and chaos in the counting process ranging from ballots piled on the floor and stepped on to results sheets soaked in a storm then hung on sticks to dry.

It said the election commission's numbers "reveal multiple results that lack credibility", citing two compilation centres in Katanga province, a Kabila stronghold, that had turnout rates of close to 100%, with nearly all votes going to Kabila and all polling stations reporting.

The European Union and other international and local observers have also cited serious problems with the vote, ranging from disorganisation at polling stations to ballot box stuffing.

Meanwhile a report from London said police had arrested 143 people during an angry demonstration by up to 500 people against the re-election of Kabila.

Protesters broke away from a designated demonstration area to block a major road near Prime Minister David Cameron's Downing Street office before attacking cars and shops and threatening members of the public, police said.

The demonstration had begun peacefully, with a crowd of between 400 and 500 people, by police estimates, holding up placards condemning the official result of the November 28 poll, which handed victory to Kabila.

Chanting and blowing whistles in the cold winter air, they declared Tshisekedi the winner and angrily condemned the sitting president.

Read more on:    joseph kabila  |  etienne tshisekedi  |  drc  |  central africa  |  drc elections

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