News24

DRC fears vote results eruption

2011-12-05 21:14

Kinshasa - DRC was on edge ahead of the announcement of last week's election results with observers warning the conflict-prone country could descend into chaos no matter who is declared the winner.

Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila was ahead in early partial results for the November 28 polls but his main rival Etienne Tshisekedi issued thinly-veiled threats of violence if the trend was not reversed.

The tension in the vast central African country spilled over into the Congolese diaspora in South Africa, where Tshisekedi supporters clashed with police and tried to storm their embassy.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) was due to announce provisional results on Tuesday, after partial tallies - mainly from Kabila strongholds - showed the incumbent edging his rival by 49 to 34%.

"With hours to go until the CENI publishes the provisional results, Kinshasa seems to be sleeping on a volcano that is ready to have an apocalyptic eruption," commented L'Observateur, a pro-ruling coalition newspaper.

On Saturday, veteran politician Tshisekedi made a veiled threat to Kabila and CENI chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, warning them to "respect the will of the Congolese people... If they don't, they risk committing suicidal acts."

"I call all our people to stay vigilant so that if needed they can execute the orders I will give them," said the challenger, a prime minister-turned-opponent of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.

Tshisekedi, who calls his supporters fighters, raised global concern and condemnation during the campaign when he called on his partisans to break into the country's prisons and free their comrades.

Conflict alert

The International Crisis Group has put the country on its "conflict risk alert" together with Syria, citing clashes in Kinshasa on the eve of the polls, deadly rebel attacks in the southeastern city of Lubumbashi on voting day, and a call from several opposition candidates for the vote to be annulled.

Human Rights Watch has said at least 18 civilians have already died in election-related violence from November 26 to 28, most of them shot dead by Kabila's presidential guard in Kinshasa. The government says it has launched an inquiry into the report.

The tense climate drove more than 3 000 people to leave Kinshasa at the weekend for Brazzaville, the capital of neighbouring Congo, which sits about four kilometres across the Congo River, an immigration official said on Sunday.

The number was higher than usual, but Congo-Brazzaville Interior Minister Raymond Zephirin Mboulou said it was not a crisis situation.

In Johannesburg, police fired rubber bullets to break up a group of demonstrators gathered in front of the ruling ANC party headquarters to protest South Africa's alleged involvement in fraud in the Congo election, the local Sapa agency reported.

"They carried posters saying President Jacob Zuma should stay out of Congolese affairs," Sapa reported, in reference to reports that definitive results of the contentious vote could be released in South Africa.

"Zuma has organised fraud in our election," one of the protesters, Mondeor Mwela, said.

In Pretoria, protesters tried to storm the DRC embassy, breaking windows and tearing down a gate.

Zuma called

An AFP correspondent said five of them were arrested. The demonstrators then gathered outside a police station to protest the arrests.

Zuma's office said he had called both Kabila and Tshisekedi the night before.

"I impressed upon them the need for sound leadership and unity at this time," he said in a statement.

"They assured me of their willingness to co-operate and put the country first."

Meanwhile, the government has since Friday evening ordered cell phone providers to block text message services on their networks until further notice, after a flurry of election-related rumours swirled via SMS.

In Lubumbashi, Kabila's presidential guard has been deployed. And authorities in Mbuji-Mayi, capital of Tshisekedi stronghold Kasai Oriental, have imposed a 22:00 to 06:00 curfew.

After Tuesday's announcement, the supreme court has until December 17 to review the provisional tally and declare the definitive result. The winner is scheduled to be sworn in on December 20.

Comments
  • Paris - 2011-12-05 22:37

    Tomorrow,kabila is a former president,like it or not,whether the enemies of congo support him or not.the people will inaugurate tshisekedi on dec 20.To hell with our enemies.Viva DRC.

  • Hilander - 2011-12-05 23:09

    why when lybians, egyptians... are claiming freedom you dont call the people supporters, Here are the congolese not Tshisekedi supporters, those people you want to see gone from your country, they living in pain and suffering here because our country is under occupation, we can choose our leaders without being cheated... People hare are claiming Zuma involvement because many website and tv Etv shows how a plane suspected to carry election ballots ticked in advance fod Kabila was leaving SA to Congo...People believe that Zuma is supporting Kabila who is killing our brothers back home...Please all we need is a president choose by us so we can go and build our country not a criminal...

  • Hilander - 2011-12-05 23:25

    DRC fears vote results eruption: WHY SHOULD KABILA WORRIED IF HE IS SO POPULAR? WHY SA HAVE TO SEND SOLDIERS IN OUR COUNTRY TO SECURE THE AFTER RESULT PUBLICATION? ZUMA IS SUPPORTING A CRIMINAL AND THEY ARE PREPARING TO KILL CONGOLESE PROTESTERS IN THE CONGO...

  • rossallenronnie - 2011-12-06 03:32

    I HOPE FOR ALL THE BEST FOR DRC BUT CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY HOLDING ON TO SOMETHING THAT NO ONE WANTS YOU TO BE SYRIA PRESIDENT WOULD RATHER KILL PEOPLE THAN STEP DOWN DRC PRESIDENT KABILA WOULD RATHER CHEAT AND KILL THAN STEP DOWN MUGABE WOULD RATHER LET HIS PEOPLE DIE OF HUNGER THAN STEP DOWN TO PRESIDENTS AROUND THE WORLD IF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR COUNTRY DONT WANT YOU AS PRESIDENT THEN STEP DOWN IT IS THAT SIMPLE LOOK AT ZAMBIA LOOK AT SOUTH AFRICA IF PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRIES TALK THERE PRESIDENTS RECEIVED THERE LOSS AND ALLLOW THENEXT PRESIDENT TO TAKE OVER STOP DICTATORS AND ELECT PEACE AND PROSPIRITY AND STOP THIS CIVIL WARS I HATE WAR I LOVE PEACE

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