Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Carter urges Congo vote to reflect people’s will

Carter urges Congo vote to reflect people’s will

The head of the commission Corneille Nangaa said on Saturday that less than half of the votes had been counted and as such it was not possible to declare any victor.

"Now more than ever the Congolese people need assurance that the authorities are genuinely committed to the respect for human rights and allowing people to access information from diverse sources and communicate freely is a key part of that".

The powerful Catholic church has said its data show a clear victor, angering Congo's ruling party.

CENCO said it deployed more than 40,000 observers across the country to monitor the 30 December vote, the first presidential ballot since 2011.

The commission's rapporteur, Jean-Pierre Kalamba, said "we will see tomorrow" and that 44 percent of the results had been compiled.

Kabila's government has cut off internet in the Congo, and shut down Radio France Internationale (RFI) and some local media outlets this week, saying it wanted to prevent the circulation of "fake" results.

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. Election observers and the opposition have raised concerns about voting irregularities as the country chooses a successor to longtime ruler Kabila, although a landslide win by one of the opposition candidates could remove any doubts that the election was skewed to the ruling party's candidate.

It called for the result to be made public to avoid political unrest. The U.S. has threatened sanctions against those who undermine the democratic process.

The outage also hampers election observers' work.

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Trump said some of the 80 personnel arrived Wednesday to protect USA citizens and diplomatic facilities in DR Congo's capital Kinshasa, Reuters reported, citing the president's letter to congressional leaders. Ahead of the vote, the USA ordered non-emergency government employees and family members to leave the country.

Pre-election opinion polls showed Kabila's preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, trailing the main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi.

He later told a news conference that election officials had collected about 20% of the results needed and that results from all 73,000 voting stations would then be consolidated.

The head of the electoral commission said this was because less than half the ballots had arrived.

At stake is a vast country rich in the minerals that power the world's mobile phones and laptops, yet desperately underdeveloped.

The statement late Thursday notes the reported troubles on election day and calls "unfortunate" the decision to bar some 1 million voters from participating because of a deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

Delattre says Friday's private meeting underscored that members are paying attention to the election for a successor to longtime President Joseph Kabila.

The December 30 vote saw 21 candidates run to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the vast, conflict-ridden country for nearly 18 years.

Mr Kabila took over from his assassinated father Laurent in 2001.

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