Published: Tue, January 08, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

United Nations divided over how to react to Congo's election problems

United Nations divided over how to react to Congo's election problems

Congo's Catholic church body, CENCO, said this week that it had identified the victor based on its own tallies collected by 40,000 observers, though it did not name the winner.

The church, a powerful voice in the heavily Catholic nation, deployed some 40,000 electoral observers but could not say who the clear victor appeared to be, as Congo's electoral regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

But critics say there has been little improvement in the quality of life for average Congolese and accuse the government of brutally suppressing dissent.

The report also expressed support for the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC's expectation, expressed on January 2, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people.

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.

The various moves reflected high tensions in Congo, where the long-delayed election was meant to choose a successor to Kabila, who is due to step down next month after 18 years in power - and two years after the official end of his mandate. The United States also condemned a lack of transparency, while China, a major investor in DR Congo, lauded the process.

"Those who undermine the democratic process threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or [who] benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in and cut off from the USA financial system".

Observers reported irregularities amid the balloting.

President Trump announced Friday evening that US troops had been sent to Gabon to protect USA assets in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is awaiting the first results of its presidential election.

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Ahead of the vote, the US ordered "non-emergency" government employees and family members to leave the country.

Congo's ruling party, which backs Kabila's preferred candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, called the church's attitude "irresponsible and anarchist".

Lamuka coalition leader Felix Fayulu debunked the SADC position saying the poll was deliberately disorganised to favour the ruling party candidate. Less than half of results had been compiled as of Saturday night.

More than one million Congolese in opposition strongholds were barred from voting after the electoral commission cancelled the polls there, citing an Ebola outbreak, the second-deadliest in history, and ethnic violence.

Congolese election observers from political parties wait for their shift to observe the count of the presidential ballots from over 900 polling stations at outside a local results compilation center in Kinshasa, Congo, Friday Jan. 4, 2019.

At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world's mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped. But the election's credibility has come under suspicion after ongoing delays in reporting the results.

President Joseph Kabila, 47, should have stepped down at the end of 2016 when his constitutionally-limited two terms expired. Electoral authorities have indicated a delay might be needed.

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

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