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.
TEXT SIZE - +

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

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

Why Europe and the US may be "whistling past the graveyard?" More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid