Congo: DRC Opposition Calls for Nationwide Strike Tuesday | VoA

Opposition groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo have called for a nationwide strike Tuesday, hoping to force President Joseph Kabila to hold elections and step down when his second term expires at the end of this year. This came after the opposition coalition over the weekend refused to attend a dialogue with President Kabila, sponsored by the African Union and facilitated by former Togolese Prime Minister Edem Kodjo. Martin Fayulu, leader of the Commitment for Citizenship and Development party and a member of the opposition coalition, said Kodjo is biased in favor of President Kabila.

Congo: Electoral commission says vote should be delayed | Associated Press

Voter registration for Congo’s November presidential election will not be completed until next year, the electoral commission president said Saturday, suggesting that the vote should be delayed. Independent National Electoral Commission President Corneille Nangaa said a voter register cannot be ready until at least July 2017 because of logistical problems in registering more than 30 million voters, and because of a lack of funds. The electoral commission started the registration process in Congo’s northwest on July 31. The opposition has expressed concern that President Joseph Kabila would delay the Nov. 27 elections in order to remain in power beyond his mandate, which ends in December.

Congo: Kabila party sweeps DR Congo vote; a sign of things to come? | MG Africa

Candidates from the ruling party in the Democratic Republic of Congo were elected on Saturday as governors and deputy governors in 14 of the nation’s 21 newly drawn provinces. The ruling coalition, known as the Presidential Majority, won in all but five of the new provinces, said the Independent National Electoral Commission, or CENI, in a statement e-mailed from the capital, Kinshasa. The vote in Sud Ubangui province was delayed and in Nord Ubangui province extended to a second round runoff, CENI said. The indirect ballot, in which governors and deputy governors are elected by provincial assemblies, was due to be held in October but was delayed. The vote is part of a series of about a dozen elections originally scheduled to take place between October 2015 and November 2016, culminating in a planned vote for a new president.

Central African Republic: DR Congo leader swears in new electoral commission chiefs | AFP

President Joseph Kabila has sworn in new chiefs of the electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo a year ahead of planned polls, state television reported Tuesday. Corneille Nangaa, Norbert Basengezi and Pierrette Mwenze were respectively made president, vice-president and quaestor — or treasury officer — of the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI), according to a decree. The appointments follow successive resignations of previous top CENI officials at a time of political upheaval, since opponents of Kabila, in power since 1991, believe he is seeking a means to stand for office again despite a constitutional ban.

Congo: Ruling Coalition Calls for Election Delay to Allow Census | Bloomberg

The ruling coalition of the Democratic Republic of Congo said a series of elections set to take place over the next year should be delayed by at least six months to allow the country to hold a national census. “The political class should have the courage to support the organization of a national census, if necessary” Andre-Alain Atundu Liongo, spokesman for the Presidential Majority, told reporters Thursday in the capital, Kinshasa. “If this means a delay of six months, eight months or more, the political class needs to be prepared.”

Voting Blogs: Congo’s uncertain election | openDemocracy

Towards the end of last month, on 25 October, the voters of the Democratic Republic of Congo went to the polls and elected representatives to sit in the parliaments of each of the country’s 26 provinces. That Sunday two weeks ago was the firing of a starting pistol which has launched a mammoth exercise in democracy during which, over 13 months and six different dates, the Congolese people and their new provincial legislators will take part in 12 separate elections, some direct (provincial and national deputies), others indirect (governors and national senators). Having filled thousands of elected positions from town councillors to provincial governors, the culmination of this herculean process will take place on 27 November 2016 when, returning to the polling booth, the Congolese will choose their 500 national parliamentarians and a new president

Congo: Head of Congo elections commission resigns | Reuters

The head of Democratic Republic of Congo’s elections commission has resigned, the presidency said in a surprise announcement on Saturday, adding to uncertainty over a presidential poll due to be held next year. President Joseph Kabila has ruled the vast Central African nation for 14 years but is barred by the constitution from standing for another term. However, critics and the opposition claim he is seeking to manipulate a packed elections calendar to prolong his rule. “The President of the Republic informs national and international opinion of the resignation of Father Apollinaire Malumalu … for health reasons,” the head of Kabila’s press office Jacques Mukaleng Makal announced on state-run television. He gave no further details of the decision.

Congo: Presidential election set for November 27, 2016 – commission | Reuters

Democratic Republic of Congo’s election commission has set Nov. 27, 2016, for presidential and legislative elections, an election official said on Thursday, satisfying a key demand of the political opposition and international donors. President Joseph Kabila, who has held power since his father’s assassination in 2001 and won disputed elections in 2006 and 2011, is constitutionally barred from standing for a third term. But critics say he intends to cling to power beyond the end of his mandate next year. Kabila has refused to comment on his future, saying it is a distraction from his political agenda. A government spokesman has said that the president intends to respect the constitution.

Congo: Senate to Vote on Amended Electoral Law After Protests | Businessweek

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Senate will vote Thursday on an amended electoral law that may not require a new census before presidential elections are held, potentially resolving a debate that triggered deadly protests. “In principle we’ll have a law that will clarify this problem and we hope this will calm public opinion,” Senator Emery Kalamba said by phone from the capital, Kinshasa. A parliamentary commission is currently amending the law, he said. Demonstrations against the law continued for a fourth day, spreading to the eastern city of Goma where at least one man died, Thomas D’Aquin Muiti, president of Civil Society in North Kivu province, said by phone. Police and soldiers were deployed throughout Kinshasa, where more than 40 people have died in protests since Jan. 19, according to human-rights groups.

Congo: Leader’s party loses 45 percent of its seats | The Associated Press

President Joseph Kabila’s party has lost 45 percent of the legislative seats it held before November elections that were denounced as fraudulent and chaotic, according to belated results announced Thursday by Congo’s electoral commission. Kabila still will command a majority in parliament, where his coalition of several parties has won about 260 of the 500 seats, down from more than 300 in the previous assembly. Officials from the discredited electoral commission announced the last of the winning legislators Thursday in results it has issued piecemeal and following a suspension of the count from the Nov. 28 balloting.

Congo: Congo’s presidential coalition leading parliament race; call to annul votes in 7 districts | The Washington Post

Two months after voters went to polls in a chaotic election, the electoral commission announced Friday that parties supporting Congo’s president won two-thirds of legislative seats. The commission also indefinitely postponed provincial elections that were scheduled for March. Electoral officials said they also want to annul results of the legislative elections in seven of Congo’s 169 voting districts and prosecute a dozen candidates accused of introducing irregularities and violence. Local and international observers have already said the Nov. 28 elections for the president and 500 national assembly seats were too flawed to be legitimate. It was only the second democratic election Congo has ever held, with the stability of the mineral-rich African nation at stake. Critics say any election results are unreliable because millions of voters were unable to cast ballots, hundreds of thousands of ballots have been tampered with and 1.3 million completed ballots went missing.

Congo: Counting halted in parliamentary vote | BBC

Vote counting in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s parliamentary elections has been halted, the election commission has said. It said it needed international help to complete counting following allegations of rigging in the 28 November polls. More than 18,000 candidates contested 500 parliamentary seats.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi plans to inaugurate himself as president on Friday after rejecting the incumbent Joseph Kabila’s victory. These were the first elections organised by the election commission since the end of the war in 2003 – the first poll in 2006 was held under the auspices of the UN.

Congo: Opposition leader seeks army backing | Al Jazeera

Congo’s top opposition figure has urged the armed forces to obey him after losing elections he says were fraudulent. Etienne Tshisekedi said on Sunday he would offer a “great prize” to anyone who captured President Joseph Kabila.

A close aide to Kabila dismissed Tshisekedi’s comments as showmanship and said the opposition leader had made similar calls against former President Mobutu Sese Seko that had been ignored by the people. However, the veteran politician’s comments do threaten to escalate a row over the results of a November 28 presidential contest, which international observers say lacked credibility.

“I call on all of you to look for [Kabila] wherever he is in the country and bring him here alive,” Tshisekedi said in his first news conference since official figures showed he was soundly beaten by Kabila. “If you bring Kabila here to me you’ll receive a great prize,” he said, urging the armed forces to obey the country’s “legitimate authority”.

Congo: Tshisekedi Says He Won, Can He Prove It? | Congo Planet

Unlike the Independent National Electoral Commission, which published the results of the presidential election showing why it says Joseph Kabila won and for everyone to see and scrutinize, Etienne Tshisekedi has so far provided no proof to support his claim of an outright victory. Yet, the longtime opposition leader has said, once again, that he now considers himself president.
Does Mr. Tshisekedi expect all Congolese to just trust his word? He must have proof that he is the one who was elected. Not Joseph Kabila, Vital Kamerhe, or Kengo wa Dongo. There must be pictures out there, videos, signed summaries of the tallies at polling stations,…  These claims of victory, coming from such a respected politician, cannot be baseless.

Of course, Mr. Tshisekedi declared himself president even before the Nov. 28 presidential elections. His proof then was that “the Congolese people have already chosen me.” Well, maybe in a parallel universe they did. But in this world, we humbly ask for proof of Mr. Tshisekedi’s victory. The Carter Center, the European Union, the United States, have said that the elections “lacked credibility”, “were not transparent”, “were seriously flawed.” Great! Maybe someone out there has the proof that Mr. Tshisekedi won. Or do they? It’s one thing to say that the 2011 elections were marred with irregularities; it’s completely different to claim that the opposition won. Even these international observers missions have not gone that far.

Congo: Supreme court upholds Joseph Kabila’s election victory |

Congo’s supreme court has upheld President Joseph Kabila’s victory following a contested election, raising fears of more violence in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation because the main opposition candidate has already rejected the results. The November election was only the second democratic vote in Congo’s 51-year history, and the first to be organised by the Congolese government rather than by the international community. Observers have expressed concern about irregularities, saying voter turnout results were impossibly high in some districts.

Kabila, Congo’s incumbent president, faced 10 candidates, including Etienne Tshisekedi, a 79-year-old longtime opposition leader who is enormously popular with the country’s impoverished masses. Observers fear unrest if Tshisekedi orders his supporters to take to the streets. So far, Tshisekedi has called for calm, telling his supporters to await his instructions.

Another opposition candidate, Vital Kamerhe, appealed to Congo’s supreme court to annul the presidential vote, but the court said late on Friday that his complaint was groundless and lacked sufficient evidence. The decision was announced by Justice Jerome Kitoko, the court’s vice president.

Congo: Top court declares Kabila president | ABC News

Democratic Republic of Congo’s Supreme Court has confirmed Joseph Kabila as the winner of a disputed November 28 presidential election, rejecting demands by the opposition for the vote to be annulled over fraud allegations. The court’s president, Jerome Kitoko, said Mr Kabila had won 48.95 per cent of the vote. “In consequence, Joseph Kabila is proclaimed president-elect of the republic with a simple majority,” he said at the justice ministry.

The court said the opposition had failed to provide proof of their allegations. Congo’s election commission last Friday declared Mr Kabila winner of the vote which observers said lacked credibility and was marred by irregularities and violence.

The opposition reacted immediately to the court’s decision saying they “totally rejected” the ruling. “The supreme court is just an instrument of Mr Kabila, just like the electoral commission,” said Alexis Mutanda, campaign president of veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

Congo: Supreme Court Hears Election Challenge |

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Supreme Court has begun hearing a lawsuit seeking to annul the presidential election that returned incumbent Joseph Kabila to power.

Opposition candidate Vital Kamerhe, who finished third in the vote, filed the lawsuit, in which he claims the poll was rigged in favor of Kabila. Kamerhe, who was present for Thursday’s hearing, said some ballots were pre-marked for the president, and said the electoral commission reported false results.

The official tally from last month’s poll showed Kabila winning 49 percent of vote, well ahead of second-place finisher Etienne Tshisekedi, who had 32 percent. Tshisekedi has rejected the results and proclaimed himself president.

International election observers reported numerous irregularities during both the vote and the counting process. On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department said the election was “seriously flawed.” However, spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said it was not clear whether the problems were enough to change the outcome of the election.

Congo: Election results to be announced | AlJazeera

The election commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is set to announce the winner of the country’s presidential election. An electoral commission official told Al Jazeera that results would be made public on Friday, a day after the announcement was postponed for a second time.

“There is a lot of confusion regarding why results were delayed on Thursday,” Al Jazeera’s Azad Essa, reporting from Kinshasha, said. “Official reasons are seen as a glaze over the real internal wrangling over results reportedly taking place within the commission itself.”

The commission has said the delay was due to double-checking of figures against tally sheets from polling stations to avoid mistakes. Kinshasa remained quiet on Friday morning. Roads were relatively empty with most people still at home or in their townships. “People are frustrated but say they are prepared to wait for the correct results,” Essa said.

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: Election Results Delayed Again | VoA News

Election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo have again delayed the results of presidential and legislative elections.  Opposition supporters are rejecting partial returns that show President Joseph Kabila heading for reelection.

Electoral Commission head Daniel Ngoy-Mulunda says results will be postponed for a third day because officials have not completed comparing vote totals sent electronically with those recorded on tally sheets at each polling station.  He said it is a huge job that must be done right to assure the credibility of the totals announced. Results from last month’s presidential and legislative elections were to be announced on Tuesday.  That was postponed until Thursday and has now been pushed back to Friday.

Congo: President Nears Election Victory |

President Joseph Kabila on Thursday was poised to claim victory in an election marred by delays, fraud allegations and violence. With 90% of ballots counted, Mr. Kabila had 48% of the vote, while his closest challenger, opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, had 34%, Congo’s independent election commission said, with full results expected on Friday.

Mr. Tshisekedi, a former prime minister, has rejected partial tallies released this week showing him trailing Mr. Kabila. His defiance has sparked street protests by his supporters in Congo and even European capitals. On Thursday, sporadic clashes between protesters and police broke out in the capital, Kinshasa. Supporters of Mr. Tshisekedi accused police of opening fire in front of the candidate’s home, wounding several people. Attempts to reach Mr. Kabila and the police were unsuccessful.

Despite poor management and fraud allegations by the opposition, the international community has been restrained in its criticism of the vote amid concerns that wider unrest could erupt in the war-ravaged country.

Congo: Violence, deaths over Congo elections force delay of official results |

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s election commission postponed declaring the winner of last week’s polls amid fears the result could lead to new violence as protests erupted worldwide. The conflict-prone country has been on high alert while it awaits the final results after a campaign that saw deadly police crackdowns on opposition rallies and a series of clashes between rival partisans.

Early tallies showed President Joseph Kabila heading for re-election in the single-round vote, which pitted him against a divided opposition field of 10 candidates. But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) said late on Tuesday it needed more time to compile final results from around the vast central African country, promising a full count within 48 hours.

“We don’t have all the results sheets from the 169 local results compilation centres,” CENI spokesman Matthieu Mpita told AFP. “That’s why we had to postpone the provisional results. To respect the law, we need to have all the results sheets in our possession.” The postponement came after police fired tear gas to disperse opposition supporters in Kinshasa. According to results issued late Tuesday, Kabila led main rival Etienne Tshisekedi 49 percent to 33 percent, with 89 percent of polling centres counted.

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: Opposition rejects early presidential vote results | Reuters

Opposition parties in the Democratic Republic of Congo rejected partial results on Saturday that showed a lead for President Joseph Kabila in a Nov. 28 election, and called on African leaders to act to prevent violence. The vast Central African nation held its second post-war election on Monday and the camps of both Kabila and veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi have said they are sure of victory, setting the stage for further trouble.

In a joint statement signed by major parties, including Tshisekedi’s, the opposition cited irregularities in the way results were being released and said the electoral commission was “psychologically preparing the population for fraud”.

“As a consequence, we reject these partial results and consider them null and void,” said the statement, read by Vital Kamerhe, a former minister who is widely expected to come third in the poll and has committed himself to the opposition camp.

Congo: Election commission says President Joseph Kabila leads in early vote results | The Washington Post

Congo’s president, seeking a second term in a nation reeling from poverty and pummeled by war, was leading Saturday in early results, but his opponents insisted he step aside and accused him of trying to engineer “carnage.” President Joseph Kabila had 50.3 percent of the vote in early results from an election marred by technical problems and accusations of favoritism. Analysts had predicted he would likely win because the opposition candidates are splitting the vote.

In a show of unity, the 10 opposition parties held a press conference and accused Kabila of attempting to engineer a situation like Kenya, Zimbabwe or the Ivory Coast, all countries where rulers used the army to try to silence dissent and cling to power after losing at the polls.

“I think that Joseph Kabila could go down in history … if he were to say, ‘I’m a good sport and I lost,’” said opposition candidate Vital Kamerhe, a former speaker of Parliament. “He is preparing a carnage.”

Congo: Chaos in DR Congo poll |

Voting in parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo extended into a third day on Wednesday, after logistical problems prevented many voters from casting their ballots on election day, two days earlier. Some opposition leaders are already calling the elections a sham.

Four presidential candidates said the elections, which had been set to start and finish on Monday, should be cancelled. The official results are expected on December 6, and analysts are warning that violence could erupt unless all participants in the election agree to respect the final outcome.

The African Union and European Union have urged calm, calling on political forces in the country to only use legal means to challenge the results. The US said it was concerned by “anomalies”.

Congo: Vote Extended To Second Day |

After an election marred by missing ballots and violence, officials extended voting to a second day Tuesday in an attempt to prevent further unrest in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation. Country experts had urged the government to postpone Monday’s presidential and legislative elections, arguing that a delayed vote was better than a botched one.

Congo is in a race against the clock, though, because the five-year term of President Joseph Kabila expires next week, and the country could face more unrest if he is seen as staying past his constitutional mandate. The vote is only the second since the end of Congo’s last war, and the first to be organized by the government instead of the international community. The election was supposed to mark another step toward peace, but if the results are not accepted by the population, especially the country’s fractured opposition, analysts fear it could drag Congo back into conflict.

Congo: Voting extends into 2nd day in Congo | Zimbio

Voting in Congo was extended into Tuesday after the first day of elections was marred by the late delivery of voting materials, errors on the ballot papers and by pockets of violence. Country experts had urged the government to postpone Monday’s presidential and legislative election, arguing that a delayed election was better than a botched one. Congo is in a race against the clock, though, because the five-year term of President Joseph Kabila expires next week, and the country could face unrest if he is seen as staying past his constitutional mandate.

Anger began to boil over in opposition strongholds in the capital where voters waited since dawn for ballots to be delivered. The spokesman of the election commission, Matthieu Mpita, announced late Monday that the election would be extended into a second day.

Congo: Pessimism grips Congo with elections in disarray | The Independent

Campaigning in the Democratic Republic of Congo lurches to a riotous and uncertain finish this weekend, with authorities warning that rain could still delay a historic vote in sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest country.

Should it go ahead, Monday’s vote will pit the young incumbent Joseph Kabila – whose father toppled dictator Mobutu Sese Seko – against elder statesman Etienne Tshisekedi, hailed as the “father of Congolese democracy” and standing for president for the first time.

Congo: Opponent not urging violence ahead of polls: party | ModernGhana

Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi was not urging violence when he called on supporters to “terrorise” the country’s security forces ahead of elections and free activists from jail, his party said Monday .

“The statements by (party) president Tshisekedi are far from being a call to violence. We are a non-violent organisation…. It is a cry of alarm and frustration,” Jacquemin Shabani, secretary-general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), told journalists.