Electoral commission calls for patience as DRC election results delayed

A Congolese policeman guards a room where officials of Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) count presidential elections ballots at a tallying centre in Kinshasa. Picture: Baz Ratner/Reuters
A Congolese policeman guards a room where officials of Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) count presidential elections ballots at a tallying centre in Kinshasa. Picture: Baz Ratner/Reuters

Election results for the Democratic Republic of Congo have been postponed, following a delay in the tallying of votes, according to Ceni, the country’s electoral commission.

The head of Ceni, Cornelia Nangaa, asked for patience on Sunday “for the time it will take to consolidate all our data”.

The delay was met with backlash from opposition parties who said that it was a tactic by the Congolese government to rig the elections.

On Saturday City Press reported that opposition leaders were urging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ensure the decision made by Congolese voters in the December 30 poll was respected as a way of fostering democracy in the region.

The Catholic council of bishops conference, known as Cenco, said that the winner was known, and called for the releasing of the results to be transparent.

“We call on the Ceni to publish, with all responsibility, the results of the election that respects truth and justice,” Cenco secretary-general Donatien Nshole said at a media briefing on Thursday.

On Friday, President Joseph Kabila met Nshole and a delegation of priests.

Nshole said that Kabila indicated he wanted to “leave the country united and peaceful”.

It is alleged that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the handpicked successor to Kabila and widely seen as a puppet, is meant to hold the fort until 2023 when Kabila may run again.

Kabila has already served two terms after taking power in 2001.

International concern has also grown following the authorities’ decision to cut internet access.

The United Nations Human Rights Office warned that the efforts to “silence dissent could backfire considerably when the results are announced”.

On Friday, United States President Donald Trump sent 80 US military personnel to Gabon “in response to the possibility that violent demonstrations may occur in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in reaction to the ... elections there.”

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