March 3, 2024

DR Congo Bans Protests Against Election ‘Irregularities

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Authorities in the DR Congo have said Tuesday they will outlaw an opposition-led demonstration planned for Wednesday to protest alleged “irregularities” in last week’s elections.

However, five opposition presidential candidates informed the governor of Kinshasa in a letter published Saturday of their intention to organize the march. However, with definitive results still not announced, the government said the protests would be disruptive.

“Tomorrow’s demonstrations are intended to undermine the electoral process; the government of the republic cannot accept this,” Interior Minister Peter Kazadi told journalists. “I can assure you that there will be no such march.”

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The opposition leaders who signed the letter include Martin Fayulu, who claimed he won the last elections in 2018. Then Denis Mukwege, the Nobel Peace Prize winner for his work with victims of wartime sexual violence,.

They denounced the election as a “sham.” “We will protest against the irregularities observed during voting,” they wrote.

Moise Katumbi, another candidate and former governor of the southeast Katanga region, called for the elections to be annulled. Dozens of civil society groups and other presidential candidates also joined the call later Tuesday, “demanding the annulment” of the elections.

Almost 44 million voters, out of about 100 million inhabitants of the massive country, were eligible to elect their president, national and regional lawmakers, and municipal councils in the last Wednesday ballots.

In conclusion, the opposition claimed there was “total chaos.” Extremely partial results released by the electoral commission show incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi well ahead. He has an 80 percent lead in some 1.8 million ballots counted so far.

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