Congo activists to people: Be ready to protest

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congolese activist groups are urging people to “be ready to massively take to the streets” if the electoral commission does not publish presidential election results in accordance with “the truth of the ballot boxes”.

A statement by more than 300 organisations also alleges that electoral commission president Corneille Nangaa has been instructed by President Joseph Kabila’s government to publish results from electronic transmission instead of from manual counting.

Carbone Beni with the Filimbi movement asserts that the manual court shows that the ruling party’s candidate did not win.

Nangaa has blamed the delay in announcing results on the opposition’s insistence on manual counting. Congo’s first use of electronic voting machines in the December 30 election led to widespread concern that they could be used to manipulate results.

The presidents of South Africa and Zambia are urging Congo’s electoral commission to “speedily” complete vote-counting and announce the delayed results of the December 30, 2018 presidential election.

Congolese riot police take position around the electoral commission building at night in Kinshasa, Congo. – AP

The statement released by South Africa’s foreign ministry reflects pressure on Congo by regional powers who don’t want to see the vast Central African nation return to widespread violence.

The statement said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Zambian President Edgar Lungu warned that the delay in releasing results “can lead to suspicions and compromise peace and stability of the country”.

Congo’s electoral commission is meeting to discuss the results.

Anti-riot police are positioned outside.

Congo’s government has rejected Western pressure over the long-delayed election, calling it interference. Anti-riot police with water cannon and armoured vehicles are outside Congo’s electoral commission ahead of the announcement of the first results of the presidential election.

Residents of the capital, Kinshasa, said the heavy security presence is a bad sign.