World News

Release of DRC presidential election results to be delayed

Release of DRC presidential election results to be delayed

Corneille Nangaa told The Associated Press that the results of the December 30 election will not be made public Sunday as expected. Initial results were expected today, but the electoral board (CENI) said they could be delayed because vote counts were slow in arriving.

The Catholic Church in Congo said Thursday that it had election results showing one candidate clearly winning, but did not say who it was.

The Catholic Church, an influential voice in this strongly Catholic nation, said that it already knows there is a clear victor, according to data reported by its 40,000 election observers deployed in polling stations.

Tallying centers in Kinshasa began compiling results on Friday with only 20 per cent of the results being received by the electoral commission.

In an attempt to suppress any speculation on the election results, the government has cut internet access and text-messaging services, closed several opposition-supporting media outlets, issued stern warnings to foreign media and blocked the signal of Radio France Internationale, whose reports are widely followed in Congo.

Also Saturday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report that said "widespread irregularities, voter suppression and violence significantly marred" the December 30 elections. More U.S. troops could be deployed if needed in Gabon or Congo, he said in a letter to Congress.

More news: Lakers' Kyle Kuzma suffers lower back contusion

Pre-election polls indicated that opposition figure Martin Fayulu was the favorite to replace Kabila, who threw his support behind his former interior minister, Emmanuel Shadary.

Delivering his summary of the election, the SADC head of the observer mission to DRC, Joseph Malanji, said the elections were relatively well managed and generally peaceful save for minor hiccups. Prior to the DRC's long-awaited elections the USA ordered "non-emergency" government employees and family members to leave the country.

The organization representing the Catholic bishops warned that there will be popular anger across Congo if the official results are not "true to the verdict of the ballot box".

"We are aware this process has always been surrounded by distrust", he said, referring to calls from the Catholic Church, the African Union, the USA and other diplomats for the government to announce accurate results.

At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world's mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped.

Kabila was due to step down two years ago, but clung on to power, sparking widespread protests which were brutally repressed, killing dozens. He took power following the assassination of his father Laurent Kabila in 2001.


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