Congo elections: Poll results, and irregularities, trickle in

Guest blogger Jason K. Stearns -- who is observing the elections in Bukavu -- provides a few results, and warns that charges of irregularities suggest the potential for violence ahead.

By , Guest blogger

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    Electoral commission workers try to sort through ballot boxes dropped at the Fikin grounds used as a central tallying point in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, on Wednesday, two days after the country went to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections.
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Results are trickling in slowly, while speculations are flying around in all possible directions. Tshisekedi's people claim that they will win 55% of the vote, while the president's people are sure of victory. It is difficult to imagine a situation in which one of the hopefuls gracefully concedes; it is easy to imagine how violent escalation could take place. 

I have posted some results below, all of which stem from Congolese civil society observers.

First, however, some developments. The compilation is proceeding very slowly, with only a few percent of votes in each province officially compiled. People who visit the four national compilation centers in Kinshasa report somewhat chaotic scenes, with some ballot envelopes torn and strewn about. Election commission president Ngoy Mulunda told reporters that election officials will invalidate any package that do not meet the requirements - which raised questions of what will happen with torn envelopes. In addition, he had previously been reported as saying that elections will not be repeated in areas where voters burned down polling stations, raising further question of voter disenfranchisement. The election commission is not making results known as it goes, and the media authority has banned any announcement of preliminary results in the press. 

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UDPS (the opposition Union for Democracy and Social Progress party) officials have been sending text messages around the country reporting the arrival of airplanes full of ballots after election day. Diplomats confirm that three airplanes arrived at Njili airport in Kinshasa - one on November 29, two on the morning of November 30 - from South Africa. While some sources suggest that the first plane had 20 tons of election material on it, I have not been able to confirm the freight of the second two planes. It would, of course, be strange for the government to be importing ballots to the country when voting had ended in the vast majority of areas.

In the meantime, all major observation missions have put out preliminary statements on the process. All congratulated the Congolese on elections and the election commission on rising to the huge logistical challenge. None of them passed judgment on the elections in general - that will have to wait for their final report - and only the Congolese Renosec monitors from civil society confirmed that there had been fraud, "but not enough to call into question the process." The Carter Center suggested that in 16% of cases irregularities led to a negative evaluation of voting, while the European Union provided an exhaustive list of flaws but did not suggest that this had compromised the overall process. We will have to wait for 5 days (and perhaps longer?) for a final conclusion. 
Nonetheless, some preliminary results, to be taken with care (also, these are all urban areas):

Kananga town (53,000 votes counted):
Tshisekedi 95,7%
Kabila 3,5%
Uvira (38,000)
Kabila 65%
Kamerhe 30%
Tshisekedi 5%
Butembo town (63,000)
Mbusa Nyamwisi 37%
Kamerhe: 26%
Kabila: 22%
Beni town (54,000)
Mbusa Nyamwisi 33%
Kabila 24%
Kamerhe 21%
Bukavu (103,000)
Kamerhe 66%
Kabila 34%
Kisangani (unknown number of votes counted)
Kamerhe 2%-10%
Tshisekedi 2%-20%
Kabila 20%-80%

– Jason K.Stearns blogs about the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region at Congo Siasa.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Africa bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of Africa bloggers. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here.

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