Congo rules out election re-run as observers’ flag irregularities

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government rejected requests by the opposition for a rerun of the contentious elections on Thursday, citing “numerous irregularities” that might call into question some of the results.

President Felix Tshisekedi appears to be leading the general election on December 20, according to the preliminary results released thus far. However, his opponents have called for the results to be void, claiming several problems with the vote’s rollout and tabulation.

The dispute threatens to further destabilise Congo, which is already grappling with a security crisis in eastern areas. Congo is the world’s top producer of cobalt and other industrial minerals and metals.

In a new report on the presidential and legislative elections based on feedback from thousands of observers, the independent joint vote-monitoring mission of Congo’s powerful Catholic Church and its Protestant Church said it had received 5,402 reports of incidents at polling stations, over 60% of which interrupted voting.

The CENCO-ECC mission “documented numerous irregularities likely to affect the integrity of the results,” it said.

In particular, it questioned the legality of the CENI election commission’s decision to extend some voting beyond Dec. 20 and reported that voting was not wrapped up fully until Dec. 27.

The team of Moise Katumbi, one of Tshisekedi’s main challengers, has ruled out using legal channels to contest results, asserting that state institutions were committed to tipping the vote in the president’s favour. The CENI denies this.

He and other opposition heavyweights have called for a re-run, but government spokesperson Patrick Muyaya said on Thursday the opposition should wait until full results are published and challenge them in the courts if necessary.

He said the government was committed to a fair and transparent election process and dismissed Katumbi’s threat to hold further protests across the country, after police forcibly broke up a banned election march on Wednesday.

“The contesting of results does not take place in the streets. And we as a government will take steps to ensure that public order is maintained,” Muyaya said.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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