DRC: Clear winner in presidential election, church says

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The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC’s) influential Catholic Church says there was a clear winner in Sunday’s long-awaited presidential election, urging authorities to publish truthful results quickly.

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco) has thousands of election monitors, some of whom have reported irregularities in Sunday’s poll. Bishops say there is a clear winner based on Cenco’s observations and called upon the electoral commission to make a prompt, honest announcement.

Clear winner in DRC election, church says

Cenco hasn’t revealed who it believes won the presidential vote on Sunday but insists there was a clear winner in the poll. The DRC’s Catholic Church has been vocally critical of President Joseph Kabila – who was due to step down in December 2016 – extending his stay in power over the past two years.

The church repeatedly called for a prompt election as protests spread across much of the country. Scores of people were killed in crackdowns by security forces before the electoral commission set an election date for December 23.

The vote was ultimately delayed for another week but voters finally took to the polls on Sunday – more than two years after an election should have been held. Speculation over voting fraud intensified throughout the build-up to the election and various members of the church’s observer team have reported irregularities from the vote.

More than 100 cases of election monitors being denied access to polling stations have been reported while roughly 20% of polling stations were opened late. There were also reports of polling stations being moved at the last minute and some not opening at all.

Millions of people were unable to vote in the election with queues still lining up outside polling stations at closing time on Sunday. People in three opposition strongholds were also left unable to vote after polling stations never opened, preventing more than a million opposition supporters from casting their vote.

Featured image: Featured image: flickr photo by MONUSCO https://flickr.com/photos/monusco/32109067714 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.