Congo delays announcing results of presidential election

Congolese independent electoral commission officials count the presidential ballots from over 900 polling stations at a local results compilation center in Kinshasa Congo Friday Jan. 4 2019. CENI said Thursday the results from 20% of the polling

Congo delays announcing results of presidential election

Officials from Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) count presidential elections ballots at tallying centre in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on January 4, 2019.

The first results from the December 30 election were due to be released on Sunday, but the election commission refused to release any information, even though it acknowledged that it had counted 53 per cent of the vote.

On Saturday, just hours before the scheduled announcement of the provisional outcome, electoral officials announced a delay until next week, without specifying a date.

President Kabila, 47, has been rattled, analysts said, by reports of a private briefing to diplomats by the Catholic church, which has been a staunch critic and apparently named Martin Fayulu, the opposition candidate, as the clear victor of the vote, eight days ago, which was monitored by more than 40,000 local...

"The EU joins calls from the AU election monitoring mission and the AU commission chairperson, among others, to ensure the results conform with the Congolese people's vote", the EU said.

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For the past week, the government cut off internet access across the vast Central African country to prevent any speculation on social media about who won.

A negative or cautionary global reaction could be problematic for Kabila whose government has defended the election's organisation, and could weaken the legitimacy of Kabila's hand picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, should he be declared victor.

While Congo was largely calm during and after the voting, President Donald Trump said about 80 military personnel and combat equipment had been deployed to neighboring Gabon to protect American citizens and diplomatic facilities in Congo.

"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.

Lamuka coalition leader Felix Fayulu debunked the SADC position saying the poll was deliberately disorganised to favour the ruling party candidate. Prior to the DRC's long-awaited elections the U.S. ordered "non-emergency" government employees and family members to leave the country. Eastern Congo is known as a center of the opposition. Some 40 million people were registered to vote. That has led many Congolese to suspect he will rule from the shadows if Shadary takes office. Chaos at polling stations on the day of the vote and a block on internet connections and SMS services since have severely dampened hopes that the election would bring a measure of political stability.

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