DR Congo poll results 'lack credibility', say monitors

The BBC's Thomas Hubert says shopkeepers in Kinshasa fear looters

A team of international observers has said irregularities in DR Congo's presidential election were so serious that the results "lack credibility".

The Carter Center highlighted numerous problems in the vote-counting process.

The official results announced on Friday gave President Joseph Kabila 49% of the vote against 32% for opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

Mr Tshisekedi says he won the election and is the country's president. He has urged supporters to stay calm.

The opposition have announced plans to hold protest marches next week.

"We insist that the protests will be non-violent. The population know this may be a long, long walk but they are ready for it," opposition spokesman Albert Moleka told Reuters news agency.

Four people died in post-election violence after the results came out.

Four other opposition candidates have said the election was rigged and should be annulled.

Huge difference

In a statement, the Carter Center, which had 26 teams of observers monitoring the elections, pointed to differences in the vote count between areas where Mr Kabila had strong support and areas that favoured Mr Tshisekedi.

Some constituencies in Katanga province "reported impossibly high rates of 99 to 100% voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent President Joseph Kabila", the Center said.

Who is Joseph Kabila?

Supporters of President Kabila with banner
  • 40 years old
  • Born in a rebel camp in eastern DR Congo - where he enjoys most of his support
  • Spent his childhood in Tanzania
  • His father, Laurent Kabila, overthrew long-time ruler Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997
  • He first became president after his father's assassination in 2001
  • Oversaw the signing of a peace accord in 2002 to end a five-year conflict involving several other nations
  • Became DR Congo's first freely elected leader in 2006, winning a run-off poll with 58% of the vote
  • His campaign slogan was: "Five building sites of the republic"
  • Shies away from public speaking
  • Is married with one daughter

Meanwhile in Kinshasa, where Mr Tshisekedi has strong support, results from nearly 2,000 polling station stations were lost - roughly a fifth of the city's total.

The Center said the violations it had documented does not mean "the final order of candidates is necessarily different" from official results.

But it said that further analysis of preliminary results could reveal further discrepancies in the vote counting process.

The 78-year-old opposition leader said the results were a "provocation".

"It is scandalous and vulgar. We have done our own calculations and I received 54% to Kabila's 26%. His term is finished. I am the president," Mr Tshisekedi said.

He later appealed to his supporters to "stay calm and peaceful", an appeal echoed by the EU, the US, the UK, France and ex-colonial power Belgium.

Mr Tshisekedi is hopeful that the international community can mediate a solution to the crisis, his spokesman says.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for "any differences regarding the provisional results of the polls to be resolved peacefully through available legal and mediation mechanisms".

Mr Kabila, 40, has been president since 2001 following the death of his father, Laurent.

In 2006 he won the first elections since the end of a five-year conflict and is due to be sworn in on 20 December for his second term.

But his victory must first be confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Inside DR Congo
size map
The Democratic Republic of Congo covers 2,344,858 square km of land in the centre of Africa, making it the 12th largest country in the world.
size map
Eastern DR Congo is awash with a variety of different rebel groups – some have come from neighbouring countries, while others have formed as self-defence groups. Many are taking advantage of the lack of a strong state to seize control of the area's mineral riches.
mineral wealth map
DR Congo has abundant mineral wealth. It has more than 70% of the world's coltan, used to make vital components of mobile phones, 30% of the planet's diamond reserves and vast deposits of cobalt, copper and bauxite. This wealth however has attracted looters and fuelled the country's civil war.
transport map
Despite the country's size, transport infrastructure is very poor. Of 153,497km of roads, only 2,794km are paved. There are around 4,000 km of railways but much is narrow-gauge track and in poor condition. Waterways are vital to transport goods but journeys can take months to complete. Overcrowded boats frequently capsize, while DR Congo has more plane crashes than any other country.
population map
With an estimated population of 71 million, DR Congo is the fourth most populous country in Africa. Some 35% of the population live in cities and the capital Kinshasa is by far the largest, with more than 8 million inhabitants. DR Congo has around 200 ethnic identities with the majority of people belonging to the Kongo, Luba and Mongo groups.
demographic map
Given its size and resources DR Congo should be a prosperous country, but years of war, corruption and economic mismanagement have left it desperately poor. In 2011 it lags far behind in many key development indicators, with average life expectancy increasing by only 2 years since 1980, after a period when it actually fell during the mid 1990s.

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