DRC: Congolese bishops call for non-publication of election results

DRC: Congolese bishops call for non-publication of election results

The election observation mission led by Catholics and Protestants issued a string of reproaches.

It was one of the most anticipated moments of this post-election in the Democratic Republic of Congo where the Catholic Church has always played an essential role as a counterweight to the desire to drift away from all levels of political power.

One of the most sensitive moments for the power of President Tshisekedi, still given the victory by the provisional figures from the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni). One of the most feared by the most zealous and radical zealots of the presidential party who, for several days, in anonymous messages widely distributed on social networks, have not hesitated to call for churches to be burned and to attack physically to the faithful and priests if they dared to question the announced victory of their favorite.

Elections in the DRC: Catholic bishops at the center of all attention

The representatives of the two Churches responsible for presenting this “preliminary declaration”, Reverend Eric Nsenga for the Protestants (ECC) and Monsignor Donatien Nshole for the Catholics (Cenco) explained the approach of the election observation mission (MoE). ), the quantity of observers sent to the field (nearly 25,000), before moving on to the findings and pointing out numerous irregularities in the polling stations based on 42,796 reports sent by their observers. Reports which covered the layout and opening of polling stations, the progress of counting operations, incidents or presidential results.


But the MoE also focused on the irregularities which marked the run-up to the election, from the non-publication of the final list of voters, to the repeated absence of display of this list at the polling stations as had however promised the CENI or the lack of mapping of polling stations.

She also points out the fact that Congolese law provides that the vote had to be held over one day, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The fact of having extended the poll by six days raises all the questions and did not allow the observers to fulfill their mission beyond the planned date of December 20. “Article 52 of the electoral law stipulates that voting for the direct ballot is held on Sunday or a public holiday (…). The Ceni announced the extension of voting and counting operations until December 21. The Ceni informs that no polling station should open after this date”explains the report read this Thursday.

In its conclusions, the “preliminary declaration” asks the Ceni and the courts and tribunals “empowered to draw, with full responsibility, all the necessary consequences, depending on the impact on the basis of the calculations of the results for the ballot concerned, before respectively proclaiming the provisional and final results of different ballots”. She also asks the Ceni, “to reassure the various stakeholders”to specify the number of polling stations which opened on December 20 and those which opened after this date, and the number of voting machines and ballots which were used there regularly.

She still insists: “Acceptance of the results by stakeholders also requires compliance with the relevant provisions of article 71 of the electoral law. The MoE urges the Ceni to only publish provisional results on the basis of the consolidated results of all local results compilation centers”.

“Tshisekedi won”

Caution and moderation which were not heard by many observers close to the majority who already announced, last night, the victory of Félix Tshisekedi on the basis of 75% of the results in possession of the Ceni. “The outgoing president can no longer be caught,” explain the media close to the presidency, also exploiting a short sentence taken from the “preliminary declaration” which says: “Thanks to the parallel vote counting system that it has put in place, the MOE notes that one candidate stood out from the others with more than half of the votes alone”.

It was enough for the presidential camp to announce the victory of its favorite. In the ranks of the opposition, on the other hand, some explained that this “candidate who largely stood out” was, according to the figures from their count for the day of December 20, Moïse Katumbi.

Far from clarifying the situation, the hermeticism of this declaration risks accelerating tensions and protests.