DR Congo Protestants join call for truth on vote results
Protestants in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday added their voice to that of the Catholic Church in urging the authorities to publish the results of a delayed presidential election.
In a statement, the Church of Christ in Congo (ECC) appealed to the DRC’s election commission to “uphold its promises, made before God and before the nation, to offer the nation the truth, and nothing but the truth, of the ballot box.”
Elections postponed three times over the last two years were held on December 30 to choose a successor to long-term President Joseph Kabila.
But the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) has put off announcing the provisional results, saying it is having problems in collecting the data.
Those results were due to have been published on Sunday, followed by definitive results on January 15 and the swearing-in of the new president three days later.
Last Thursday, the powerful Roman Catholic Church said it knew who had won the ballot from its own monitors at polling stations.
It called on CENI “to publish the election results in keeping with truth and justice.”
The Catholic Church’s National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) said it had deployed more than 40,000 observers around the vast country.
Catholicism is the main religion in the DRC. The ECC, the largest Protestant church, said it had 10,000 election observers on December 30.
The coalition of governing parties, the Common Front for Congo (FCC), has accused CENCO of bias and breaching electoral law and says opposition candidate Martin Fayulu is trying to force CENI’s hand.
The DRC has a long history of political violence and suspicions of political manipulation and electoral fraud run deep.
It has never experienced a peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960.
The country suffered two wars between 1996 and 2003 that claimed millions of lives through bloodshed, fighting, starvation and disease.
Bloody clashes also marred elections in 2006 and 2011.
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