Preliminary results from Democratic Republic of Congo’s tumultuous presidential election will be delayed past Sunday’s deadline, the head of the election commission has said. The announcement on Saturday has prompted fears the vote result could be manipulated, with analysts saying prolonged uncertainty could trigger deadly clashes, similar to the violence that broke out in the central African country after the 2006 and 2011 elections. The commission, known as CENI, had received only 47 percent of vote tally sheets as of Saturday, its president, Corneille Nangaa, told the Reuters news agency. It not yet clear when the results would be ready, he said, adding: “It will not be possible to announce the results tomorrow.”
A presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo due to take place on Sunday has been delayed until 30 December, the country’s electoral commission has announced, citing problems caused by a recent fire that destroyed 80% of the voting machines in the capital, Kinshasa. The delay to the election, already postponed repeatedly since 2016, will anger supporters of the DRC’s fractured opposition and dismay observers who hoped it would bring a measure of security to the country. It is also likely to raise tensions and could prompt significant protests. Corneille Nangaa, the head of the electoral commission, said officials have found enough voting machines for Kinshasa but had to get 5 million new ballots printed. Nangaa called on the country of some 40 million voters for calm.
When one of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s leading opposition presidential candidates campaigned in the mining town of Lubumbashi last week, security forces reportedly sprayed his convoy with tear gas and live ammunition, leaving at least three people dead. Martin Fayulu was heading from the airport towards the city centre surrounded by thousands of supporters, when the clash took place. The next morning the shells of burnt out vehicles littered the tree-lined streets and torn ruling-party campaign posters flapped in the wind. “First we felt the tear gas, and then they fired shots,” Mr Fayulu told the Financial Times in an interview in Lubumbashi. “How can we continue campaigning in this atmosphere?” Congo’s elections next Sunday are set to be historic — the country’s first transition of power by the ballot box as President Joseph Kabila steps down after 17 years in office. But Mr Fayulu’s experience has raised fears they will be far from democratic.
International observers on Thursday raised concerns about violence in Togo before elections later this month, which the government has said will go ahead despite the unrest and an opposition boycott. The tiny west African country has seen a wave of opposition protests since last year calling for a limit to the number of presidential terms and a two-round voting system. Protestors have also called for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe, who has been in power since 2005 after taking over from his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema. On Thursday, the UN, European Union and the embassies of the United States, France and Germany said they were following the situation in Togo “with concern”. In a joint statement they said they “regret the deaths and violence” and “await the results of the investigations announced by the government” following the last protests.
At least two people were killed in Togo when police clashed with demonstrators during a banned nationwide protest, in an explosion of tension before disputed parliamentary elections later this month. Four policemen were also hurt, and authorities arrested 28 people in the capital, Lome, and Bafilo, 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of the city, the government said in a statement that was read out on state-owned Television Togolaise Saturday. It confirmed the two deaths. Opposition spokeswoman Brigitte Kafui Adjamagbo said one of the people killed was nine years old. Several more people were wounded when police opened fire with live ammunition, she said.
Opposition parties have held a series of protests across the country calling for the resignation of President Faure Gnassingbe. Togo’s government has banned a series of planned opposition protests on security grounds, saying the marches posed a security risk. A coalition of 14 opposition parties announced earlier this week that they would boycott a parliamentary election planned for December 20 and instead try to stop the electoral process. But the government said on Wednesday in a letter seen by AFP that they would not be allowed to take to the streets.
The long-delayed and long-awaited race for the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) presidency shifted into a new gear this week with the official launch of the candidates’ electoral campaigns. Exactly a month from now, some 40 million people, about half of the resource-rich country’s population, are expected to finally elect a new president after two years of postponements, uncertainty and turmoil. Outgoing President Joseph Kabila has controversially remained in office even though his second consecutive and final constitutional term officially expired in 2016. While Kabila insisted the election delays were due to challenges enrolling millions of voters and financial constraints, his refusal to step down sparked violent rallies in which dozens of protesters were killed.
The number of civilians harmed in last month’s parliamentary elections was higher than in four previous elections in Afghanistan, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan said in a report. At least 435 civilian casualties were recorded, out of which 56 people were killed and 379 wounded, on election day on October 20, and during days when delayed polling was conducted in some provinces. The numbers do not include casualties from attacks during the three-week election campaign. “This report documents grave concerns over the organised campaign of numerous attacks by anti-government elements, mainly Taliban, directed at civilian objects and in civilian populated areas during the elections, including attacks against schools used as polling centres,” the report said.
Afghanistan: Suicide bomber targets Afghanistan’s election commission headquarters in Kabul | The Defense Post
A suicide bomber targeting the headquarters of Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission on Monday killed at least one person and wounded six, officials said, in the latest violence to strike the controversial poll. One police officer was killed when the militant, who was on foot, blew up near a vehicle carrying IEC employees as it entered the base at 8 a.m. (0330 GMT). Four election workers and two other police officers were also wounded in the blast. The attacker was “identified and gunned down by police before reaching his target,” Kabul police spokesperson Basir Mujahid told reporters.
Pipe bombs were sent to several prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, setting off an intense investigation on Wednesday into whether figures vilified by the right were being targeted. From Washington to New York to Florida to Los Angeles, the authorities intercepted a wave of crudely built devices that were contained in manila envelopes. In the center of Manhattan, the Time Warner Center, an elegant office and shopping complex, was evacuated because of a pipe bomb sent to CNN, which has its New York offices there. It was addressed to John O. Brennan, a critic of President Trump who served as Mr. Obama’s C.I.A. director. None of the devices harmed anyone, and it was not immediately clear whether any of them could have. One law enforcement official said investigators were examining the possibility that they were hoax devices that were constructed to look like bombs but would not have exploded.