DRC Government Bans Opposition From Protesting Over Irregularities In Polls

0
514

The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Tuesday that a demonstration planned by the opposition on Wednesday to protest against the “irregularities” they claim marred the 20-21 December elections would be banned.

Interior Minister Peter Kazadi told the press “The aim of tomorrow’s demonstration is to undermine the electoral process, and the government of the Republic cannot accept that.”

“I can assure you that there will be no such march”, he insisted.

In a letter made public on Saturday, five opposition presidential candidates informed the governor of Kinshasa of their intention to organise a march on Wednesday.

“We will be protesting against the irregularities observed during the voting process”, they wrote, describing the ballot as a “sham election”.

These opponents include Martin Fayulu, the unsuccessful candidate in the 2018 election, and Denis Mukwege, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work with women victims of wartime rape.

The camp of another opposition candidate, the former governor of the southeastern mining region of Katanga, Moïse Katumbi, has called for the elections to be cancelled outright.

As early as 20 December, the opposition had described the elections as “total chaos”.

Nearly 44 million voters, out of a population of around 100 million, were called upon last Wednesday to elect their president, national and provincial deputies and local councillors.

Due to a number of logistical problems, the quadruple ballot was officially extended by one day, and continued until Christmas in some remote areas.

The still very partial results of the presidential election released by the Electoral Commission put the incumbent president, Félix Tshisekedi, well ahead, with more than 80% of the 1.8 million votes counted.