UN Security Council meets on Congo election

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

And 23 per cent of its observers' reports noted that voting had to be suspended at some point because of troubles with voting machines. It has not had a peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.

Supporters of opposition leader Martin Fayulu sing and dance as they march and chant slogans in the streets of the Ndjili district of Kinshasa on December 19, 2018, ahead of a campaign rally for Democratic Republic of Congo's general elections.

The church, which deployed some 40,000 electoral observers in all polling centers, can not say publicly who the clear victor appears to be, as Congo's regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

"Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo should reverse their systematic campaign of censorship and instead prioritize journalists' ability to keep citizens informed", said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal.

The Catholic church in Congo announced Thursday its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, and it called on the electoral commission to publish the true results in "respect of truth and justice".

People in the Democratic Republic of Congo are anxiously awaiting the outcome of the recent election, with provisional results originally expected on 6 January.

Congo's election commission is scolding the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an "uprising".

But on Thursday, CENI chief Corneille Nangaa told AFP that provisional results may be delayed.

"We are working around the clock". "The DRC should choose to open its next political chapter by committing to respect press freedom, which includes ensuring unfettered access for internet, telecommunication services, and news broadcasts". Provisional results are expected on January 6, with the final outcome on January 15. As of Thursday, the electoral commission's president said it had collected results from about 20 percent of polling stations.

"The holding of these elections constitutes, in itself, a first great victory for the Congolese people", it said.

For now, however, the country's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) is refusing to release the results of the presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections on December 30, citing logistical problems, including delays in counting all of the votes.

But after 18 years in power, critics say, Kabila is determined to hang on by securing a win for his chosen candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The DRC lived through two wars between 1996 and 2003 that claimed millions of lives through bloodshed, fighting, starvation and disease.

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