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UN Mission Wants Congo Electoral Body To Address Poll Dispute

Opposition UDPS members hold up blood-splattered poster of leader Etienne Tshisekedi after presidential guard opened fire on crowd outside N'Djili airport in Kinshasa, November 26, 2011.

The United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) is calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to address concerns over the outcome of the disputed presidential and legislative elections.

Spokesman Madnodje Mounoubai said the world body is echoing sentiments similar to those expressed by the Carter Center and some other international observers who said the results of the vote were “mismanaged” and lack credibility.

“MONUSCO is only adding its voice to the many voices already raised that talked about some concerns following the proclamation of the results of the election,” said Mounoubai.

Main opposition challenger Etienne Tshisekedi declared himself winner of the presidential election and rejected poll results that favored incumbent President Joseph.

Following the announcement of the results, violent protests and looting have left four people dead in Kinshasa but the deployment of police and security personnel presence has since restored calm.

Supporters of Mr. Tshisekedi are scheduled to take to the streets again this week.

Analysts have expressed concern they could turn violent if security forces attempt to break them up. But, the MONUSCO spokesman said the opposition has a right to peaceful protests.

“We can only encourage the government and the police and all the security and law enforcement agencies to exercise restraint in the control of these demonstrations, if those demonstrations are to take place,” said Mounoubai. “We hope this is going to be peaceful and it will not become violent, if they want to use peaceful demonstrations as one of the ways to express themselves.”

MONUSCO has trained about 6,000 policemen in crowd control ahead of the November 28 vote.

“The police force is trained in the use of non-lethal weapons. And we hope that they are the ones going to be used to control the demonstration,” said Mounoubai. “It is our hope that if it is those that are used to control the demonstration, there is not going to be any violence from the law enforcement side.”