News / Africa

Congolese Vote Marred by Violence, Allegations of Fraud

Confused voters look for their names on registration lists at a polling station in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, November 28, 2011
Confused voters look for their names on registration lists at a polling station in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, November 28, 2011

Voting in the Democratic Republic of Congo was marred by violence Monday, allegations of fraud, and failures to deliver ballots.

Unidentified gunmen attacked a polling station in the southern city of Lubumbashi early Monday, killing two policemen and burning ballots. Reports from the Katanga Province capital say at least three of those attackers have been arrested.  Many polling stations in Lubumbashi failed to open, in part because of an earlier attack on vehicles carrying voting materials.

U.N. Special Representative to Congo Roger Meece says Congolese authorities are addressing the insecurity surrounding this presidential and legislative balloting.

"I would reiterate a call on all authorities, voters themselves, political leaders to do all possible to ensure a peaceful day so that the Congolese people have the right to vote in security,” said Meece.

In a communique late Monday, the electoral commission deplored “incidents of violence that occurred in certain polling stations and cities and communities across the Republic.”

Electoral commission spokesman Matthieu Mpita says polling places that finished with voting should forward results to counting stations as normal. He says people who are in line at polling places when the time to vote closes should be allowed to cast their ballots.

Mpita says people at polling places that ran out of ballots should stay calm and await further instructions. Voters at polling places where ballots never arrived should wait for those materials to be delivered.

Monday's attacks are the latest violence associated with elections in this Central African nation. On Saturday, at least three people were killed when riot police fired bullets and tear gas at supporters of the leading opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi.

DRC pposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi speaks to the media, November 26, 2011
DRC pposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi speaks to the media, November 26, 2011

Mr. Tshisekedi proclaimed himself president before the vote and said his supporters will, in his words, “take their responsibilities” if they do not believe this election is fair.

Another opposition candidate, Vital Kamerhe, charged electoral fraud, with fake polling stations meant to fool voters and ballots that have been marked for President Joseph Kabila in advance.

Electoral commission president Daniel Ngoy-Mulunda says those allegations have been investigated and have no merit.

Ngoy-Mulunda is calling for the Congolese people to go and vote as that is their right. He says there are no fictitious polling stations or pre-marked ballots.  He says the electoral commission has organized a vote that is credible, dignified and transparent.

In a nationwide address late Sunday, President Kabila said the country must take care not to go back to war and conflict.

He came to power after the 2001 assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila, who led the rebellion against dictator Mobutu Sese Seko when this country was called Zaire.

President Kabila's 2006 run-off election against former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba led to heavy fighting in the capital that killed more than 100 people.  

There is no run-off this time, so whoever gets the most votes wins.

Electoral observer David Pottie from the U.S.-based Carter Center says that makes the presidential winner's ability to work with lawmakers even more crucial to his success.

"The importance of the presidential election needs to be understood in the context of the equal importance of the legislative election, precisely because of this first-past-the-post system that has now been adopted for the presidential," asid Pottie. "Any winning president facing the really likely prospect of having won the presidency with less than 50 percent of the vote and an extremely diverse parliament.”

Voters wait for election material to arrive at a polling station in Kinshasa, Congo, November 28, 2011
Voters wait for election material to arrive at a polling station in Kinshasa, Congo, November 28, 2011

Voters came out early in the capital Monday, as most polling stations in the city opened on time. At the Complexe Scolaire Bienheureuse Anuarite in Kinshasa's Gombe neighborhood, each classroom is a separate polling station with yellow-topped boxes for legislative ballots and blue-topped boxes for presidential votes.

The legislative ballots here look like small newspapers - 48 pages of names and photographs of some of the more than 18,000 candidates running for the national assembly.  The presidential ballots are far simpler - a single sheet with 11 candidates.

Sylvie Lusamba Tengo voted for the longtime opposition leader, Mr. Tshisekedi.

Tengo says Mr. Tshisekedi is the best choice for Congo because she believes he will follow through on his campaign promise to put the people first. When the needs of the people are put before the needs of their leaders, Tengo says the quality of life for everyone will improve.

Rufin Kasongo supports President Kabila. He says the problem in Congo is not about changing the president every time. It is about ending the country's isolation and developing its resources. Kasongo says President Kabila will improve the supply of electricity and strengthen Congo's infrastructure.

The electoral commission says it will release final vote results before President Kabila's current mandate expires December 6.

Photo Gallery: DRC Elections

You May Like

Photogallery US Storm Falls Short of Severe Predictions, Yet Affects Millions

NYC mayor says, 'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' yet blizzard warnings, travel bans remain for several East Coast states More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle with Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people were displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid