20°C / 22°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 6°C
  • Fri
  • 19°C
  • 5°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 21°C
  • 6°C
  • Mon
  • 17°C
  • 4°C
  • Tue
  • 15°C
  • 2°C
  • Thu
  • 16°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 14°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 15°C
  • 12°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 22°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 18°C
  • 5°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 6°C
  • Sat
  • 23°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 22°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 19°C
  • 3°C
  • Tue
  • 15°C
  • 1°C
  • Thu
  • 23°C
  • 16°C
  • Fri
  • 26°C
  • 14°C
  • Sat
  • 22°C
  • 17°C
  • Sun
  • 25°C
  • 15°C
  • Mon
  • 27°C
  • 15°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 13°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 12°C
  • Fri
  • 16°C
  • 11°C
  • Sat
  • 17°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 18°C
  • 9°C
  • Mon
  • 14°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 21°C
  • 10°C
  • Thu
  • 18°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 12°C
  • 8°C
  • Sat
  • 14°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 15°C
  • 5°C
  • Mon
  • 13°C
  • 9°C
  • Tue
  • 13°C
  • 9°C
  • Thu
  • 17°C
  • 11°C
  • Fri
  • 12°C
  • 10°C
  • Sat
  • 15°C
  • 9°C
  • Sun
  • 15°C
  • 10°C
  • Mon
  • 13°C
  • 10°C
  • Tue
  • 14°C
  • 11°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 22°C
  • 5°C
  • Sat
  • 24°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 23°C
  • 6°C
  • Mon
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 5°C
  • Thu
  • 19°C
  • 7°C
  • Fri
  • 20°C
  • 7°C
  • Sat
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 22°C
  • 7°C
  • Mon
  • 12°C
  • 2°C
  • Tue
  • 12°C
  • 0°C
  • Thu
  • 21°C
  • 8°C
  • Fri
  • 24°C
  • 6°C
  • Sat
  • 26°C
  • 6°C
  • Sun
  • 25°C
  • 8°C
  • Mon
  • 23°C
  • 6°C
  • Tue
  • 20°C
  • 6°C
  • Thu
  • 20°C
  • 9°C
  • Fri
  • 16°C
  • 8°C
  • Sat
  • 16°C
  • 7°C
  • Sun
  • 17°C
  • 7°C
  • Mon
  • 13°C
  • 9°C
  • Tue
  • 19°C
  • 9°C

Regional observers endorse Congo's election - with caveats

The SADC’s qualified endorsement countered allegations by opposition candidates that the 30 December vote was marred by widespread irregularities and criticism by a senior US lawmaker.

Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) agents count votes during an electricity cut while watched by observers at Kiwele college in Lubumbashi on 30 December 2018, following the close of polls in the country's presidential, provincial and national elections. Picture: AFP

KINSHASA - Election monitors from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said on Wednesday that the Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election “went relatively well” despite chaotic scenes that prevented many from voting.

The SADC’s qualified endorsement countered allegations by opposition candidates that the 30 December vote was marred by widespread irregularities and criticism by a senior US lawmaker that the election was “neither free nor fair”.

Approval of the election’s results by SADC powers like South Africa and Angola will be critical for the legitimacy of the administration of the next president, who will succeed veteran incumbent Joseph Kabila on 18 January.

Angola and South Africa have been important allies of Kabila over the years, but relations were strained by his refusal to step down when his mandate officially expired in 2016.

Pre-election polling showed Kabila’s preferred candidate, ex-interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, trailing the main opposition candidates, Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi, but both sides say they expect to win. Provisional results are expected on 6 January, with the final outcome on 15 January.

Sunday’s vote is meant to lead to Congo’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence. But more than a million Congolese in opposition strongholds were prevented from voting due to an Ebola outbreak, local factional conflict and various logistical problems.

“Taking into account the range of challenges posed by these elections, the (mission) observed that the elections ... were relatively well-managed,” the SADC mission said in a statement.

The election allowed “the majority of the Congolese population to exercise its right to vote”.

The statement said that 59% of polling places it observed opened on time, vote counting was transparent and police securing the polls behaved professionally.

An African Union observer mission said in a separate statement on Wednesday that election day, which also included votes for national and provincial assembly members, was peaceful yet blighted by a number of logistical problems.

“The holding of these elections constitutes, in itself, a first great victory for the Congolese people,” it said. “The mission strongly wishes that the results that will be declared are true to the vote of the Congolese people.”

Kabila’s government refused to accredit election monitors from the European Union and the US-based Carter Center, which said there were widespread irregularities in the 2011 election.

Contested election results in 2006 and 2011 led to violent street protests, and a disputed outcome this time could also destabilise Congo’s volatile eastern borderlands with Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi, where dozens of militia groups are active.

Comments

EWN welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

- Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
- Sexism
- Homophobia
- Religious intolerance
- Cyber bullying
- Hate speech
- Derogatory language
- Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the EWN community a safe and welcoming space for all.

EWN reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

EWN is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

comments powered by Disqus