Observers call for patience in DRC vote

2011-11-30 15:04
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

DRC elections

Police in Kinshasa use teargas to disperse opposition supporters as the Democratic Republic of Congo's wait to learn the winner of the elections is prolonged amid protests abroad and fears of violence at home.

Kinshasa - Vote observers called for patience Wednesday after opposition demands for the Democratic Republic of Congo's elections to be annulled, saying it was too early to rule whether the vote was credible despite election-day chaos.

Monday's polls in the vast, restive central African nation were marred by violence and allegations of widespread irregularities and fraud targeted mainly at President Joseph Kabila.

Observers from the African Union called for restraint while votes are counted and the Carter Centre said it needed more time to gather reports from around the vast central African country.

"We have seen incidents in many polling stations, as have other domestic and international observers," said John Stremlau, vice president of the organisation founded by former US president Jimmy Carter that monitors elections around the world.

He echoed concerns over undelivered ballots, long delays and voters being turned away from polling centres - reports that have raised tensions as the country awaits the announcement on December 6 of preliminary presidential results.

But he said the "complex and difficult situation" in the DRC - a country two-thirds the size of western Europe, with a crumbling and limited road network - meant it was too early to give a definitive report.

Isolated acts of violence

"The challenge for responsible observers is to look at the patterns and try to draw some general conclusions as to whether these are technical shortcomings that all elections have to different degrees or it reflects systematic fraud," told a press conference.

He added that the elections "could be judged a credible undertaking" if the counting process is transparent.

"You'll have to just give us time until the tabulations go further and we get more information from our people in the field," said ex-Zambian president Rupiah Banda, the head of the mission.

The African Union for its part deplored "isolated acts of violence" on an election day in which at least 10 people died in apparent separatist attacks in the restive southeastern city of Lubumbashi.

But it said it was "delighted with the good conduct of the elections despite the challenges the country faces", and appealed to political parties for "great restraint and a spirit of responsibility in accepting the result".

In early assessments, international and domestic observers had raised serious concerns about the vote, saying they had received reports of ballot box stuffing and millions of voters turned away from polling centres.

But the major election monitoring groups took a more cautious stance on Wednesday.

Four of the 10 challengers trying to unseat Kabila had called Tuesday for the elections to be annulled, alleging fraud by Kabila and a host of flaws in the vote, including the exclusion of their monitors from polling stations.

Kabila's main rival, veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, did not join the annulment call, though his party on Wednesday denounced "the fraud and violence that have characterised the process".

Deadly unrest

The president of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, defended the organisation of the polls Tuesday, saying: "There's nothing to make us annul these elections."

The elections commission had faced criticism throughout the build-up to the polls for running chronically behind schedule as it struggled to overcome logistical challenges.

It had to bring in 81 planes and helicopters to get 64 million ballots to some 64 000 polling centres, and many still did not receive their election materials on time.

There were no reports of renewed violence on Wednesday after Monday's deadly unrest in Lubumbashi, the country's second city and the capital of the mining province of Katanga.

Voting day there was rocked by apparent separatist attacks on an election vehicle convoy and a polling station, in which officials said seven or eight assailants, two policemen and a voter died.

The polling centre re-opened Tuesday, and voters had finished casting their ballots by Wednesday.

Read more on:    au  |  rupiah banda  |  joseph kabila  |  etienne tshisekedi  |  drc  |  central africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
SPONSORED CONTENT
When is a mountain more than just a mountain? 2014-12-18 07:26

When it’s an adventure! A group of Old Mutual employees found out how much is enough courage, endurance and camaraderie to take on Africa's highest peak.

/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is so much going on around you and inside your head. You may want to take your ideas to the next level. Romance may be...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.