Congo Postpones Release of Election Results as Opposition Claims Victory

Electoral Commission agents in DRC count votes during an electricity blackout recently.

GOMA – The Electoral Commission in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said late Saturday it will not be releasing results from the Presidential election, which were initially planned to come out on Sunday, amid claims from opposition that it won the election.

The electoral commission said results across the country had delayed to come in but added that progress was being made. The electoral body did not give a new date for the release of the results.

Anger over delayed results is building as diplomatic sources in DRC say opposition candidate and head of coalition Lamuka, Martin Fayulu is the clear winner.

The international community and human rights groups have warned of potential uprising should the actual results be manipulated.

Spokesperson for the opposition coalition Lamuka, Olivier Kamitatu said the people of Congo have made their choice and their voice must be respected.

The Catholic Council of Bishop’s Conference, which deployed 40,000 monitors, has announced that the winner of the election is known but didn’t mention the name.

But diplomatic sources say the winner the church talks about is Fayulu. The ruling party has blasted the church, arguing the earlier declaration could cause unrest.

Days ago, the U.S government called on DRC government to release results that reflect the views of the people to avoid violence.

On Friday, U.S President Donald Trump said he ordered the deployment of U.S military to Gabon to help U.S staff at embassy and in Kinshasa in case unrest erupts in DRC.

Trump said the U.S sent 80 troops with combat equipment and supported by military aircraft to nearby Gabon.

“The first of these personnel arrived in Gabon on January 2, 2019, with appropriate combat equipment and supported by military aircraft,” Trump’s letter to Congress read.

“Additional forces may deploy to Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the Republic of the Congo, if necessary for these purposes.”

The letter added that: “These deployed personnel will remain in the region until the security situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo becomes such that their presence is no longer needed”.

The suspense in Congo comes at a time when the internet has been blocked by government for a week now and some foreign observers, including the European Union were barred. Accreditation of Radio France Internationale’s correspondent was also withdrawn earlier last week.

More than 40 million voters registered to participate in the presidential and parliamentary elections expected to see a peaceful transfer of power since the largest central African nation gained independence in 1960.

Human rights groups, observers and the opposition say the election was marred by serious irregularities. However, the government says the election was fair and went smoothly.

Twenty one candidates participated in presidential election but the real contest is about three candidates who include Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate of the ruling Common Front for Congo, or FCC, and two main opposition candidates Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

Days before election, opinion by Congo Research Group put opposition candidate Fayulu in the lead with 44 percent while Shadary who is supported by outgoing president trailing with 18 percent.

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