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European Union urges DR Congo to restore Internet

05 January, 2019, 11:57 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Observers have not been allowed to monitor those counting the votes. /COURTESY

The DR Congo's influential Catholic Church, which had deployed 41,000 election monitors, said on Thursday that it knew who had won the election and called on electoral authorities to publish the correct results.

The statement also refers to the election observers the National Episcopal Electoral Conference of Congo (Cenco) and an alliance of citizens' observer missions, Symocel.

"What my colleagues have told me, and they have observed is that the situation remains calm but tense ahead of the announcement of the results of the election", OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said.

The US demanded that "accurate" election results be released, warning of sanctions against anyone who undermined the fledgling democracy.

The European Union called on Friday for voting results in the Democratic Republic of Congo to reflect the people's will at what it called a "historic moment toward a democratic transition". "This is one of those moments for the DRC", US State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement.

The U.N. Security Council met behind closed doors to discuss Congo on Friday, at France's request.

Libreville is on the Atlantic coast of Gabon, which borders the Republic of the Congo (RC) to the east.

The French government-funded news service RFI said in a January 2 statement that authorities have blocked almost all its FM broadcasts in the DRC since January 1, and withdrew the accreditation of its correspondent, Florence Morice.

Congolese authorities have blocked RFI's broadcasts after accusing it of fanning controversy by declaring early results - an allegation it denies.

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.

But he invoked a caretaker clause in the constitution to stay on, sparking protests that were ruthlessly crushed, leaving scores dead.

Elections to succeed him were delayed several times before they finally took place, and were further postponed in several areas hit by violence.

He added that the first batch of troops arrived in the Central African country on Wednesday and additional forces could be sent "if necessary". And 23 per cent of its observers' reports noted that voting had to be suspended at some point because of troubles with voting machines.

Congo's election commission is scolding the Catholic church for saying its data show a clear victor in Sunday's presidential election, asserting that the announcement could incite an "uprising".

"We are working hard to announce them as soon as possible", Corneille Nangaa said. "But if we can't, we can't". As of Thursday, the electoral commission's president said it had collected results from about 20 percent of polling stations.

"The consolidation of the results must continue with transparency", Delattre told reporters.

"The holding of these elections constitutes, in itself, a first great victory for the Congolese people", it said.

Citing the possibility of violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, US president Donald Trump has deployed 80 troops with "appropriate equipment" and aircraft to the nearby Gabon, he informed Congress in a letter. But opposition candidates Felix Tshisekedi and Martin Fayulu say there are widespread irregularities.


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