Kabila poised for another term

2011-12-08 15:05

Kinshasa - President Joseph Kabila is poised to claim a new five-year term on Thursday when officials announce the winner of DR Congo's elections, a result the opposition is likely to contest both in court and on the street.

Leading a pack of 11 candidates with 49% of valid votes and just over one-tenth of polling centres uncounted, Kabila, in power since 2001, looks likely to reap the benefits of January constitutional changes that scrapped two-round presidential elections for a single-round system.

His nearest rival, veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, was on 33% when the last figures were released late Tuesday.

Tshisekedi rejected partial results showing Kabila in the lead, and his Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) has called for the election commission to release results polling centre by polling centre. International observers have asked for greater transparency.

The conflict-prone country has been on edge as it awaits the outcome of the November 28 polls.

Two days to contest outcome

The announcement, originally scheduled for Tuesday but postponed 48 hours by election officials, has created trepidation after a campaign marred by street fights between rival partisans and deadly police crackdowns on opposition supporters.

The election commission said late Wednesday the count was more than 90 percent complete and that it expected to have finished in "a few hours".

Candidates have two days to contest the outcome at the supreme court, which Tshisekedi is likely to do.

But with the court seen as closely aligned to Kabila - he expanded it from seven to 27 judges at the start of the campaign - fear is high that the battle will spill into the streets.

Tshisekedi has made veiled threats of violence, warning Kabila and election commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda 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," he said on Saturday.

Unusually quiet city

In Kinshasa, police patrols have been out in force and some 20 000 soldiers are on stand-by at military bases.

Police this week used teargas to disperse potential opposition protests before they could start, chasing away Tshisekedi supporters armed with rocks and petrol bombs before they could reach critical mass.

Elsewhere, the normally bustling city of 10 million people has been unusually quiet.

Other potential flashpoints include Katanga province, a Kabila stronghold that was rocked by deadly rebel attacks on election day, and Kasai Occidental and Kasai Oriental, provinces where Tshisekedi has strong support.

Tensions have also spilled over into the Congolese diaspora.

Anti-Kabila protests by Congolese expatriates have turned violent in Brussels, London, Paris, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The elections are just the second since back-to-back wars from 1996 to 2003 in a country ranked last on the UN's development index despite a wealth of cobalt, copper, diamonds and gold.

Human Rights Watch said at least 18 civilians were killed in election-related violence from November 26 to 28, mostly shot dead by Kabila's presidential guard as it put down a Tshisekedi rally in Kinshasa.

Election officials, running chronically behind schedule, had to bring in more than 80 aircraft to get ballots distributed across a country two-thirds the size of Western Europe. Poor infrastructure has made counting equally slow.

The winner is due to be sworn in December 20. Provisional parliamentary results are due in mid-January.

  • Paris - 2011-12-08 15:42

    Be ready,you`ll witness worse events well across DRC.Kabila will lead over the deads.The country will be ungouvernable.Until such a time he flees or capture him like kaddafi or samuel doe.We`ve warned you.

  • Phumezo - 2011-12-08 15:56

    Congo is better of with the young and energetic dictator Kabila than an over eighty disillusioned old and ailing Tshisekedi! At least we know his vision and where he wants to take his country!

      Willy Widikin A Kapan - 2011-12-10 06:45

      I think you right...where was the so called Madiba of Drc when mobutu was in power fr 32yrs? He was busy eating and destroying the country with mobutu. If people like or dislike you in one corner a country that does not mean you win or loose the national province is not the whole...

  • tnsadi - 2011-12-08 16:28

    we will see if kanambe will rule that country again by this time the world will learn something from congolese people

  • Kally - 2011-12-08 16:39

    This puppet of Kabila, put in power by west after he killed his own father, can not even stand an interview with the press. We are living in the 21 st century and DRC has a president that never been to primary school, 8.000.000 ballots were caught coming from South africa voted ak lready in Kabila's favor, surely Zuma has to say the election was fair bcz he has his own mine in DRC and Tokyo sekwale...bunch of crooks.

  • Revblaise - 2011-12-08 17:00

    we congolese people, dont want kabila in our country because is from rwanda. he's a dictator, he didnot go to school. We dont know his family. why the united nation cant see that, we voted Etienne Tshisekedi and now by the fraud, kabila trying to stay in power?

      Norah - 2011-12-08 17:31

      @Revblaise, if Kabila is from Rwanda why did Laurent Kabila say he was his son, and why does he carry his surname? How do you know he never went to school? Were you with him in Tanzania when his father was in exile? Please don't preach dangerous propaganda..this is exactly what led to the Rwanda genocide of 1994. The Congolese people have the ballot box! Hope you also cast your vote instead of casting aspersions on Joseph Kabila!

      Willy Widikin A Kapan - 2011-12-11 10:06

      Not dont want.,say so...dont include everyone.,where did he then get 49%?

  • Guelord - 2011-12-08 19:34

    @ Norah, you know nothing about the DRC. Congolese people know what is good for them; right now Kabila must go. It will do them a lot of good

  • Djongo - 2011-12-08 20:12


  • Djongo - 2011-12-08 20:13

    God have mercy!!!!

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