USA calls for ballot scrutiny in ‘unfair’ DRC election

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO

Kabila's government cut access to the internet as well as Radio France Internationale (RFI) and some local media this week, saying it wanted to prevent fake results from circulating.

Last Sunday's vote will decide the successor to President Joseph Kabila, who came to office in 2001 after the previous incumbent, his father Laurent, was assassinated in the aftermath of a civil war involving numerous armed militias.

Moussa Faki, head of the AU Commission, met on Friday with the head of the AU observer mission, Dioncounda Traore, a former president of Mali, at the bloc's headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa.

The church, which deployed some 40,000 electoral observers in all polling centers, can not say publicly who the clear victor appears to be, as Congo's regulations forbid anyone but the electoral commission to announce results.

Preliminary results are due to be announced on January 9, with the final results announced on January 15, due to the remote nature of numerous country's polling stations.

The United States was deeply concerned by the DRC's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) decision to deny accreditation to several global election observers and media representatives, it said.

The United States demanded that "accurate" election results be released, warning of sanctions against anyone who undermined the fledgling democracy.

Democratic Republic of Congo's ruling coalition accused the country's Catholic Church on Friday of behaving in an "irresponsible and anarchic" way after it said it knew the victor of last Sunday's presidential election.

A Swedish Hospital Is Treating a Possible Ebola Patient
An outbreak in west Africa between 2014 and 2016 killed an estimated 11,325 people, according to the World Health Organization. An Ebola outbreak ravaging eastern areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo has claimed several hundred lives.

The opposition has since said that the vote was marred by widespread irregularities.

Council members were to hear a report from Leila Zerrougui, who heads the United Nations mission in DR Congo, during the closed-door meeting.

A man examines voting materials at Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) tallying centre in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan 1, 2019.

Martin Fayulu who leads the Lamuka coalition and Felix Tshisekedi of the CACH coalition were present at the meeting held at the Hotel Kempinski.

But on Thursday, CENI chief Corneille Nangaa told AFP that provisional results may be delayed.

"We had proposed a solution" for the DRC's infrastructure problems, "but it was refused, now we have to live with the situation", he said.

Within hours of clearing the first hurdle of potential violence on polling day, the elections ran into their next challenge - claims of victory and entrenched suspicions about electoral fraud.

President Donald Trump said on Friday about 80 USA military personnel had deployed to Gabon in case they were needed to protect American citizens and diplomatic facilities in Congo.

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