News / Africa

AU, Carter Center Urge Congolese to Accept Vote Results

Supporters of opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi show what they claim are badly printed fraudulent photocopies of election ballots they say they found in the Bandal commune in Kinshasa, DRC, November 28, 2011.
Supporters of opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi show what they claim are badly printed fraudulent photocopies of election ballots they say they found in the Bandal commune in Kinshasa, DRC, November 28, 2011.

Electoral observers in the Democratic Republic of Congo are urging presidential and legislative candidates to accept the results of this week's vote. Four presidential candidates are calling for the vote to be annulled. Some people are still voting after ballots were delivered late.

The electoral commission says voters at more than 480 polling places are finally casting their ballots Wednesday after delays on Monday and Tuesday prevented them from voting. Totals from most of the more than 63,000 polling stations have been reported and are being compiled at electoral commission headquarters.

African Union observers are calling on “all political actors to show their responsibility by accepting the results" despite procedural delays, violence, and allegations of fraud.

Opposition presidential candidate Vital Kamerhe wants the vote annulled because of what he says was fraud “deliberately planned by those in power with the connivance of the national election commission.” Three other presidential candidates joined his call, denouncing what they said was President Joseph Kabila's use of state resources during the campaign.

Former Zambian president, Rupiah Banda, led election observers from the U.S.-based Carter Center. He says candidates calling for an annulment should wait for results from the electoral commission, which is known as the CENI.

“Candidates and voters alike should remain calm and await CENI's announcement of official preliminary results due by December 6," said Banda. "We hope that the results of this election will be accepted by the people and by the candidates themselves as the voice of the Congolese people.”

Gunmen in the southern city of Lubumbashi Monday attacked a polling station and a convoy of vehicles carrying ballots. In several cities, voters fought with electoral officials whom they accused of trying to rig the vote. John Stremlau is the vice president for peace programs at the Carter Center.

“In the places we observed, there should have been more security," said Stremlau. "Which is ironic given how over-securitized this place was five years ago. So on the one hand I'd prefer peace and an absence of heavy weapons. On the other hand, people's tendency to spread rumors and jump to conclusions when they don't trust the opposition - or in some cases the government - poses challenges for observers to make sense out of what the pattern is.”

Stremlau says the question is: Were those voting irregularities systemic or bad management?

“At the moment, it would appear to be the product of a rushed election of enormous complexity," he said.

Stremlau says candidates with complaints should follow the judicial process established to resolve electoral challenges.

“It is never a perfect process and this will be a difficult challenge period because it is very short and there are a lot of suspicions about who is in charge of the supreme court and how that will work," said Stremlau. "But I think it is incumbent upon the media to press candidates to produce evidence of the malfeasance they allege. The anecdotes are important, but we are looking for patterns.”

The electoral commission says it investigated Kamerhe's claim of ballots marked for President Kabila in advance and concluded that those allegations were not true.

The leading opposition candidate in this vote, Etienne Tshisekedi, has also alleged vote fraud but has not joined Kamerhe's call for an annulment.

Albert Muleka is the secretary general of Mr. Tshisekedi's party. He says the electoral commission should be more transparent about how it is dealing with contested ballots.

“They are monitored only by CENI,' said Muleka. "So it kind of raises many questions and even some suspicions. So we really encourage CENI to come back to the consultation method so that we all can monitor what is going on right now.”

Unlike President Kabila's 2006 election, there is no longer a second round of balloting in Congo. So whoever gets the most votes here wins.

Photo Gallery: Congo Elections

You May Like

Photogallery Oxfam: Ebola Could Be 'Disaster of Our Generation'

Meanwhile, Fidel Castro, the former leader of Cuba, says the Caribbean island nation will 'gladly cooperate' with the US in the fight against Ebola in West Africa More

Multimedia Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

Refugees receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed More

India’s Ruling Nationalist Party Makes Gains in Regional Elections

Bharatiya Janata Party’s huge margin over its rivals puts it on course to form governments in the northern Haryana and western Maharashtra states More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fighti
X
Zana Omer
October 18, 2014 6:37 PM
The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.
Video

Video Church for Atheists Goes Global

Atheists, by definition, do not believe in God. So they should have no need of a church. But two years ago, a pair of British stand-up comedians decided to create one. Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans told the BBC they envisioned “something like church but without God". Their “Sunday Assembly” movement has grown from a single congregation in London to dozens of churches around the world. Reporter Mike Osborne visited with the members of a Sunday Assembly that now meets regularly in Nashville.
Video

Video Robot Locates Unexploded Underwater Mines

Many educators believe that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Proving that the method works is a project developed by a group of students at the Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, New Jersey. They rose up to a challenge posted by the U.S. Department of Defense and successfully designed and built an underwater robot for locating submerged unexploded ordnance. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's JFK Hospital Reopens After Temporary Ebola Exposure

JFK Hospital is Liberia’s largest and one of its oldest medical facilities. The hospital had to close temporarily following the deaths of two leading doctors from Ebola. It is now getting back on its feet, with the maternity ward being the first section to reopen. Benno Muchler has more for VOA News from Monrovia.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Expose Generation Gap

Most of the tens of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong are students seeking democracy. Idealistic youths say while the older generation worries about the present, they are fighting for the territory's future. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Hong Kong.
Video

Video Liberians Living in US Struggle From Afar as Ebola Ravages Homeland

More than 8,000 Liberians live in New York City, more than in any other city outside of Liberia itself. As VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports, with the Ebola virus ravaging their homeland, there is no peace of mind for these New Yorkers.
Video

Video Kurds See War-Ravaged Kobani As Political, Emotional Heartland

Intense fighting is continuing between Islamic State militants -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- and Kurdish forces around the Syrian town of Kobani, on the Turkish border. The U.S. said it carried out at least nine airstrikes against Islamic State positions Friday. Meanwhile the U.N. has warned that hundreds of civilians would be massacred if the town falls to the militants. Henry Ridgwell looks at the strategic significance of the city.

All About America

AppleAndroid