Congo: Election sparks violent protests | The Guardian

President Joseph Kabila was declared the winner of elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo on Friday, triggering violent protests and a rival claim to power by his main challenger. Kabila gained 49% of the vote against 32% for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, the election commission announced.

But Tshisekedi, 78, immediately disputed the result and declared himself president. “I consider these results a real provocation of the Congolese people,” he said on RFI Radio. “As a consequence, I consider myself, from today, the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Observers fear such statements could throw a match to the tinderbox of Kinshasa, where there were reports of unrest and gunfire soon after the results were announced. Police fired teargas to break up angry demonstrations, according to witnesses, and plumes of smoke smudged the skyline as tyres were burned outside counting centres. A huge security operation put opposition strongholds in the city under lockdown.

Congo: DRC on a knife edge as vote result looms | Times LIVE

There is an uneasy quiet in Kinshasa as the city braces for impending bloodshed. Results of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s second democratic elections, which took place this week, are due to be announced on Tuesday – an announcement likely to spark chaos.

Late yesterday afternoon, presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi called a press conference at his residence in Limité, Kinshasa, where he slammed Independent National Electoral Commission president Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, and rejected the preliminary results. He warned Mulunda that “he will be held responsible for what happens in this country”. He told his supporters to be “vigilant” and urged them to “wait until I give the word” before taking action.

Preliminary results released late Friday put incumbent Joseph Kabila ahead of Tshisekedi. With 33% of the vote counted from the country’s 63000 polling stations and released by the election commission, Kabila has 50% of the vote compared to Tshisekedi’s 34%. However, votes from Kinshasa, which is Tshisekedi’s stronghold, have yet to be counted.

Congo: Democratic Republic of Congo gears up for general elections | Newsday

More than 31 million voters have registered for the forthcoming general election scheduled for November in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This represents a significant increase compared to about 25,6 million that registered for the last election held in 2006.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni) has said it is happy with the way the electoral process is progressing, adding that the response from voters had been overwhelming. “It is more than we expected,” Ceni chairperson Daniel Ngoy Mulunda said at a Press conference following the completion of the first phase of the updating of the electoral roll. He said overwhelming response is a positive sign that people are willing to participate in national development.