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Broadcast Journalist and Multimedia Producer based in Paris, France

Kabila leads DRC elections with half polling stations counted

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Packets of ballot papers lying on the floor at the Fikin International compilation centre in Kinshasa

Packets of ballot papers lying on the floor at the Fikin International compilation centre in Kinshasa

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s incumbent president Joseph Kabila is leading the presidential election, according to partial results announced on Sunday. The country’s electoral commission said Kabila leads his main rival Etienne Tshisekedi by over 1.5 million ballots.

Etienne Tshisekedi

Vital Kamerhe

Q&A Lambert Mende, DRC Communications Minister

Radio France Internationale

Incumbent president Kabila is in front with 4.9 million votes from just over half the polling stations counted.

Kabila’s nearest rival, UDPS party leader Tshisekedi, has 3.4 million votes. However, less than a third of polling stations in Kinshasa, considered a Tshisekedi stronghold, have been tallied.

The DRC’s National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco) on Sunday urged the electoral commission to ensure results were a true reflection of voters’ intentions.

During the election process, Cenco had one of the largest observation missions in the country with over 30,000 people. But it has rejected calls to publish data it collected during its mission.

“It’s not the job of the Church to give results,” said Cenco’s president Bishop Nicolas Djomo.

Tshisekedi and other opposition leaders have rejected the partial results.

On Saturday, Tshisekedi said Kabila and the head of the country’s electoral commission, Daniel Ngoy Mulunda, risked committing “suicidal acts” by announcing them day-by-day.

“I appeal to all our people to remain vigilant,” Tshisekedi said. “If necessary I will give them the go-ahead,” he added, without specifying exactly what kind of go-ahead.

During a press conference on Saturday UNC party leader Vital Kamerhe appealed for an African mediation process.

Kamerhe, who’s considered likely to finish third, told journalists that “it’s an approach to save democracy and our nation”.

“We saw what happened in Kenya, we saw what happened in Zimbabwe, and we saw what happened recently in Côte d’Ivoire. Things have got worse because we have not anticipated them,” Kamerhe added.

Meanwhile, the government said on Saturday, Human Rights Watch’s report into the pre-election violence is “politically motivated”.

In an interview with RFI, Communications Minister Lambert Mende rejected the HRW death toll of 18 people.

“What we know is that three people died when clashes occurred between two political parties in Kinshasa. What we also know is that eight died in Lubumbashi when the town was attacked by gunmen,” Mende said.

He said HRW is giving names of victims without providing addresses so they cannot carry out a proper investigation.

“Maybe people were killed. But why not give the police or the government elements that can help. We don’t consider that any African could have a relative killed without organising mourning, without going to complain to the judiciary,” said Mende, during an interview
at the ministry of communications and media.

Mende said the government is not trying to “hide” but is there to “care” for the Congolese people and HRW’s accusations are intended to “weaken” the government.

Preliminary results from the 28th November poll are expected on 6th December.

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