Call for a re-count in Congo

Image: Cédric Gerbehaye

January 18, 2019

PAX calls for a transparent tally of the votes in the recent elections in Congo. The Congolese government declared Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential election. However, this result contradicts the findings of neutral local observers, as well as information leaked to international journalists.

The European Network for Central Africa (Eurac), of which PAX is a member, is calling on the EU to urge the Congolese authorities to publicize their vote tally, and, if necessary, perform a transparent recount of the votes. Similar calls have been made by the South African Development Community (SADC), as well as by France and Belgium.

Neutral observers
The widely respected National Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO), which  trained and deployed 40,000 election observers, published a report which calls into question the government’s declaration of Tshisekedi as the winner. This week, a team of international journalists claimed that leaked results from local polling places revealed numerous instances of fraud.

The elections took place on 30 December after a long period of delay thanks in large part to CENCO’s persistence in talks with the government and peaceful protestors. After the government refused international election observers, CENCO decided to deploy their own observers. The conference’s report on the elections was published even before the government announced its own preliminary results.

Peaceful transfer of power
Due to its size and wealth of natural resources, the Democratic Republic of Congo is important politically and economically for central Africa as well as for Europe. This is particularly true for the regional group SADC, which is increasingly concerned by the current instability in Congo. For now, the Congolese are anxiously awaiting developments around the presidential elections. The public sees the international community as having a crucial role. People realize that a peaceful solution to the current crisis is necessary to ensure that this transfer of power does not deteriorate into armed conflict, as has happened so many times in the past.

See also Election in Congo: Undemocratic democracy

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