In the Democratic Republic of Congo, vote counting is underway following the nation’s first multi-party elections in more than 40 years. Before the elections, the largest UN peacekeeping mission ever to be deployed moved in to provide security during the voting; it is thought that the UN presence was critical to the process. Grace Lula, a member of Congo’s Independent Electoral Commission, spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter James Butty about yesterday’s voting.
“The polling stations were opened at six o’clock, and it went smoothly. There wasn’t much important problem. What I can point out is that some electors got small problem because the number of the elector’s card. We found two or three electors having the card with the same number. But the people who were working in the polling station had to explain to the electors that there wasn’t any problem.”
The names of about one million people were excluded from the voter list. Grace Lula explains why.
“The problem is that when we were getting our electors card, they told the people that where you get your elector’s card is where you will vote during the voting day. But you know in DRC people are always traveling from town to town and from province to province just to look how they can earn some money. There is also a good number of students who got their cards where they were studying. Now they are in Kinshasa, and they could not vote because their names are in where they got their polling cards. So these kinds of people didn’t vote.”
Lula says that aside from a few minor incidents, there were very few problems reported.
“What I know is that in one quarter in Kinshasa they caught a member of the armed forces who did not wear his uniform as a member of the armed forces. He went to the polling station to vote, and there were people who recognized him, and they say that they have beaten him until he has died.”
Lula says the Independent Electoral Commission expects to announce the results in about two weeks. After that, she says, DRC courts will have to confirm the results.
Let us know what you think of this report and other stories on our website. Send your views to AFRICA@VOANEWS.COM, and include your phone number. Or, call us here in Washington, DC at (202) 205-9942. After you hear the VOA identification, press 30 to leave a message. We want to hear what you have to say!