from JEAN KASSONGO in Kinshasa, DRC
KINSHASA – ANXIETY has gripped the strife-plagued Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) ahead of the announcement of results of the recent general elections.
The announcement was scheduled for Sunday (today) but is now scheduled for this week, although the electoral commission (CENI) has not set the exact date.
“It is not possible to publish the results on Sunday (today). We are making progress, but we do not have everything yet,” Corneille Nangaa, head of CENI, said.
This has elongated the anxiety after elections scheduled for 2016 were delayed until the end of 2018.
The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Commissioner (OHCHR) spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, said the country was “calm but tense.”
While press reports claim journalists and opposition candidates were intimidated and that access to some media was still blocked, OHCHR warned that efforts to silence dissent could be counterproductive.
“There are preliminary reports of pockets of violence and injuries,” Shamdasani said.
The envoy said journalists, opposition candidates and human rights defenders continued to be bullied and harassed.
“We are carefully watching the situation and we call on all parties to refrain from using violence.”
However, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has endorsed the election.
SADC Electoral Observer Mission (SEOM) head, Joseph Malanji said the political and security environment before, during and immediately after polling was “generally peaceful.”
“Our observers generally reported an atmosphere of peace in the areas they observed during their period of deployment,” said Malanji, who is also Zambia’s minister of foreign affairs.
The poll will decide the successor of outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who took office in 2001 after the assassination of his father, Laurent Kabila.
– CAJ News