Published: Mon, January 07, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US sends troops for possible 'violent' Congo vote protests

US sends troops for possible 'violent' Congo vote protests

The United States demanded that "accurate" election results be released and called on the DRC authorities to remove restrictions on internet access.

Congo's Catholic church body, CENCO, said this week that it had identified the victor based on its own tallies collected by 40,000 observers, though it did not name the winner.

"We have observed that the Congolese people have chosen a candidate as president of the republic", Donatien Nshole, secretary general of Cenco, told RFI's Sonia Rolley in an interview broadcast on Friday.

"We call on the Ceni to publish, with all responsibility, the results of the election that respect truth and justice", he said.

Questions still hang over the historic election that could see the first smooth transfer of power in 59 years of the country's independence.

It expressed support to the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC's expectation, expressed on January 2, 2019, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people.

On the eve of the first expected results of Congo's long-delayed presidential election, President Donald Trump said military personnel had deployed to Central Africa to protect US assets from possible "violent demonstrations", while the country's powerful Catholic church warned of a popular "uprising" if untrue results are announced.

Congo's ruling party, which backs Kabila's preferred candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, called the church's attitude "irresponsible and anarchist".

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We strongly urge the CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC's 75,000 polling stations.

"It is not possible to publish the results on Sunday".

Congo's electoral commission is expected to release provisional results of the presidential election on Sunday, but it has said there could be delays because of the slow arrival of tally sheets.

The United States, which has threatened to impose sanctions against those who undermine the election process and has deployed troops to Gabon in case its citizens need rescuing from any violence, backed the statement, alongside Britain, Ivory Coast, Belgium and others. Ahead of the vote, the USA ordered non-emergency government employees and family members to leave the country.

That is the question observers are asking after the opposition coalition said they will not accept a result that does not declare their candidate Martin Fayulu the victor.

But an official in President Joseph Kabila's government, Kikaya Bin Karubi, has accused the church leaders of breaching constitutional and electoral laws.

The country's Catholic church has warned about a popular "uprising" if false election results are announced, according to The Associated Press. Some 40 million people were registered to vote, though at the last minute about 1 million voters were barred by the electoral commission which cited a deadly Ebola virus outbreak in eastern Congo.

Mr Kabila took over from his assassinated father Laurent in 2001.

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