DR Congo election panel signals that results will be announced later today.
A banner in election commission’s press room says: “Publication of provisional results from presidential elections, Wednesday January 9”.
Associated Press [AP] reported that anti-riot police with water cannon and armoured vehicles surrounded Congo’s electoral commission on Wednesday.
The action came ahead of the delayed announcement of the results of the presidential election, while activist groups urged people to “be ready to massively take to the streets” if results don’t match “the truth of the ballot boxes.”
Residents of the capital, Kinshasa, said the heavy security presence was a bad sign, with some recalling the violence that followed past disputed elections.
It “may be a message that the publication (of the results) won’t meet the expectations of the Congolese people,” resident John Kabamba said.
Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, a Kinshasa lawmaker and businessman, has urged the electoral commission to announce the true results as quickly as possible and warned it not to “play with fire, it is very dangerous.”
He said the delay is to “fudge the results” and warned that his coalition would release its own figures if the official ones are in doubt.
South Africa and Zambia speak
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa and his Zambian counterpart Edgar Lungu called on electoral officials to quickly wrap up the vote collation and release the presidential election results.
The two leaders held emergency talks in Pretoria as the release of the results of the vote — which has been postponed three times over the last two years — was further delayed.
Tensions have increased as international pressure mounts to publish the outcome in a country where past elections were marred by violence.
“The two presidents have called on CENI (Independent National Electoral Commission) to speedily finalise the vote tabulation and release the election results in order to maintain the credibility of elections,” South Africa’s foreign affairs ministry said.
The leaders “underscored that the delay in releasing the results of the elections can lead to suspicions and compromise peace and stability of the country”.
The CENI has blamed problems with collecting the data announced on Tuesday that provisional results of the much-delayed presidential election could be counted in “24 to 48 hours” after which an announcement will be scheduled.
South Africa, a non-permanent council member, is a leading power in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that includes the DR Congo.
Lungu heads SADC’s section that deals with peace and security.
First results of the December 30 election to choose a successor to long-term President Joseph Kabila were due on Sunday.