Congolese opposition rejects early election results

Veteran Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi said on Saturday that he rejects early results from the November 28 election that show President Joseph Kabila in the lead, and issued a warning to his rival.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) released partial results on Friday showing Kabila with 52% of valid votes to 34% for Tshisekedi, but the count included more of the incumbent’s traditional strongholds than his main rival’s.

Tshisekedi told journalists that his party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), had a warning for Kabila and CENI chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda.

“I’m warning Mr Ngoy Mulunda that the UDPS not only rejects these results, but warns Mr Ngoy Mulunda and Mr Kabila to respect the will of the Congolese people in publishing the results that will follow,” he said.

‘Suicidal acts’
“I’m going to say that if they don’t, they risk committing suicidal acts. I call all our people to stay vigilant so that if needed, they can execute the orders I will give them,” he added.

A joint statement signed by the major Congolese opposition parties cited irregularities and said the electoral commission was “psychologically preparing the population for fraud”.

“As a consequence, we reject these partial results and consider them null and void,” the statement said.

Tensions have been running high as the DRC awaits the results of Monday’s polls, which were marred by violence and rioting at polling stations.

Provisional results were originally not expected until Tuesday, but the CENI decided to release early returns on Friday, saying it wanted to staunch the flood of rumours and false reports about the count.

The elections are the DRC’s second since back-to-back wars from 1996 to 2003. Fears of post-poll violence are running high following a campaign marred by deadly police crackdowns on opposition rallies and a series of clashes between supporters of both Kabila and Tshisekedi.—Sapa-AFP, Reuters

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