January 19, 2019

DRC: State says it cut internet to avoid 'uprising' after vote

05 January 2019, 12:44 | Megan Pierce

US calls for ballot scrutiny in ‘unfair’ DRC election

DRC chokes communications as vote counting continues after tense elections

France requested the meeting, which was scheduled for 15:00, as world powers await results from the landmark vote held last Sunday.

"We are working hard to announce them as soon as possible", Corneille Nangaa said.

Leading western powers on Tuesday called on the Democratic Republic of Congo to restore internet access, which operators say was cut on government orders a day earlier following presidential elections.

Francois Delattre says the fact that the world organisation's powerhouse is meeting on the subject means it's keeping a close watch on vote counting in the DRC.

The internet outage has hampered the election observers' work.

Already the powerful Catholic Church has reported that its tallies shows an outright victor of the polls.

A spokesman for CENCO's election monitoring team, the Electoral Observation Mission of the Peace and Justice Commission said: "It is importance to emphasise that the irregularities that were observed were not able to significantly affect the choice which the Congolese people clearly expressed through the ballot box".

Western powers urge DR Congo to restore Internet

Kabila's government refused to accredit election monitors from the European Union and the USA -based Carter Center, which said there were widespread irregularities in the 2011 election. As of Thursday, the electoral commission's president said it had collected results from about 20 per cent of polling stations.

The church's bishops conference, known as CENCO, did not say which candidate had won.

Kabila, who is backing Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary to succeed him, claims the elections were fair. The opposition has been split between two main candidates, Martin Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil manager who was a relative unknown months ago, and Felix Tshisekedi, the son of late opposition icon Etienne Thisekedi.

Kabila, who succeeded his assassinated father in 2001, helped reunify the country amid civil war and has presided over strong economic growth, driven by exports of copper and cobalt, a component of electric vehicle batteries.

More than one million Congolese in opposition strongholds were barred from voting after the electoral commission cancelled the polls there, citing an Ebola outbreak, the second-deadliest in history, and ethnic violence. Affected people in Beni and Butembo cities protested as some observers warned that not allowing them to vote undermined the credibility of the election.

Several residents in the capital Kinshasa tried their luck at large hotels, where some internet could still be accessed.

"We are waiting and trying to adapt, searching for places where we can still find network because we need it to work", businessman Paul Odimba said.

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