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December 01, 2011

DRC Security Forces Ready for Possible Post-Election Violence

by Scott Stearns

Security forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo say they are prepared for any possible violence that might follow next week's announcement of results from the country's presidential and legislative elections. President Joseph Kabila's leading opponents say they are confident of victory despite what they say has been vote fraud.

Security minister Adolph Lumanu Buana Sefu says the government security plan for the electoral process includes preparations for what happens after the vote because he says authorities know there are those who are getting ready to contest the results. With a well-trained and equipped police force, Sefu says authorities are sufficiently prepared to face any situation, today, tomorrow, and after the election results.

The security minister says President Kabila would accept losing the vote, but his rivals must also be wiling to do the same.

Leading opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi says he is confident of victory as unofficial tallies of votes announced at individual polling stations show him doing well across the country.

Jacquemin Shabani, the secretary general of Tshisekedi's party, says based on ballot results compiled by the party, they have won. They said months ago thatTshisekedi would win. Shabani says that is why the party was fighting high and low for these elections to take place and for the vote to be free and fair.

Electoral observers from the African Union, the European Union, and the U.S. based Carter Center say there were irregularities in this vote including the late delivery of supplies that stretched balloting beyond Monday. But the question now is were those irregularities part of systemic fraud or just bad management of a vote in the country the size of Western Europe.

Tshisekedi spokesman Albert Muleka says the vigilance of voters themselves will help safeguard the outcome.

Muleka says the entire Congolese population has been transformed into observers and witnesses and investigators in this vote. So he says irregularities in the electoral process and attempts at fraud will fail.

As Congolese await the final results, the United Nations is urging political leaders to keep their supporters calm and refrain from disrupting the electoral process.

There is a feverish exchange of vote totals among Congolese, with many of the numbers gathered by SMS text messages, compiled, and then retexted as provincial or regional results.

But electoral commission president Daniel Ngoy-Mulunda says the only totals that matter are those to be announced by his commission, which is known as the CENI.

Ngoy-Mulunda says only the CENI can announce the results. We are here for that purpose. That is the law. Whoever else dares to give results, Ngoy-Mulunda says, will be pursued by the law.