News / Africa

Outside Congolese Activists Denounce Election Results as Fraudulent

A Congolese protester waves a flag of the former Zaire in front of the White House Saturday, December 10, 2011, denouncing recent election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
A Congolese protester waves a flag of the former Zaire in front of the White House Saturday, December 10, 2011, denouncing recent election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

While protests against President Joseph Kabila’s re-election turned deadly Saturday in the Democratic Republic of Congo, outside the country demonstrations were more peaceful but just as angry.

Congolese protesters walked in circles in front of the White House denouncing vote results released Friday in the D.R.C. which they said were fraudulent.

One of the protesters, Blaise Kazadi, drove several hours from the southeastern state of North Carolina to take part.

“Right now, the Congolese they wanted to go to these elections to elect someone that they trust, the one that can bring peace in the country, and now they see that their voice and their opinion has been stolen. That is why people are angry, everywhere in Brussels, in America, in France, everybody is angry, because we did not elect Joseph Kabila. We need a change.”

In Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, angry youths who supported Mr. Kabila’s main election rival former Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi burned tires and barricaded streets.

They said Congolese were in national mourning.

Congo’s electoral commission Friday declared President Kabila re-elected with nearly 49 percent of the vote to Mr. Tshisekedi’s 32 percent.  Mr. Kabila was named president in 2001, shortly after his father, a former rebel turned president, was assassinated.

The U.S. election monitoring group the Carter Center said Saturday the results of Congo’s 2011 presidential election lacked credibility.    

It said some pro-Kabila areas reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100 percent voter turnout with nearly all votes going to Mr. Kabila.

The Carter Center called on Congolese political actors and institutions to closely examine the results and identify solutions.

Back in Washington, protesters like Patrick Mubobo said they were losing faith in the electoral process.

“If these elections are not fair, that is demonstrating that democracy has failed. There is no need in going in any elections because it is a waste of time.”

Protesters said they hoped the U.S. government would condemn the election results and call for a serious investigation.  They said the international community had failed to help the people of conflict-wracked and mineral-rich Congo for decades, and was failing again by letting erroneous election results stand.

** A previous version of this story published December 10, 2011, incorrectly stated that President Joseph Kabila took power in a military coup. VOA regrets the error.

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