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Congo Police Disperse Opposition Protest In Kinshasa Demanding Election Re-run



Congo Police Disperse Opposition Protest In Kinshasa Demanding Election Re-run

Tensions are feared when the winner of the presidential election is announced, in a country with a turbulent and often violent political history

Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo – Tensions escalated in the capital Kinshasa on Wednesday as Congo police fired tear gas to disperse a protest led by opposition supporters demanding a re-run of last week’s presidential and legislative elections, which were marred by chaos and controversy.

The demonstration, organized by opposition groups, gathered momentum as protesters voiced their concerns over alleged irregularities and misconduct during the recent electoral process. Calls for a re-run of the elections reverberated through the streets of Kinshasa as demonstrators expressed dissatisfaction with the conduct and outcome of the polls.

The disputed vote threatens to further destabilize Congo, which is already grappling with a security crisis in the east that has hampered development in the world’s top producer of cobalt and other industrial minerals and metals.

Five of President Felix Tshisekedi’s challengers in the race, as well as civil society organizations, called on their supporters to join a march on Wednesday against the poll, which they say was fraudulent and should be annulled.

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According to AFP report, the demonstration against the electoral process had been banned by the authorities.

Interior Minister Peter Kazadi announced on Tuesday that the march would not be permitted. He declared, “It aims to undermine the electoral process; the government of the Republic cannot accept this.”

The opposition steadfastly adhered to its rallying cry and urged the residents of Kinshasa to assemble in the vicinity of the People’s Palace, the parliamentary seat, to march towards the headquarters of the Electoral Commission (CENI).

On Wednesday morning, anti-riot police were deployed in the People’s Palace district, situated near the expansive Martyrs stadium.

Almost 44 million voters were called to participate in the election of their president, national and provincial deputies, as well as municipal councillors on December 20. Owing to a multitude of logistical challenges, the fourfold voting process was officially prolonged by one day and persisted until Christmas in certain remote regions.

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Partial results from the presidential election indicate that the incumbent head of state, Félix Tshisekedi, is in a commanding position, securing approximately 79% of the votes. In office since the start of 2019, he is vying for a second consecutive five-year term.

According to the latest available figures, relating to approximately 6 million votes counted, Moïse Katumbi, former governor of the mining region of Katanga, would come in second position, with 14% of the votes, followed by Martin Fayulu, an unsuccessful candidate in the 2018 presidential election (4%).

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The remaining candidates, numbering around twenty, collectively garnered less than 1% of the votes. Among them, Dr. Denis Mukwege, the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate for his work with women victims of war rape, is reported to be in the 11th position with 0.12%.

As early as December 20, opponents had described the elections as “total chaos” and denounced “irregularities”. The Archbishop of Kinshasa considered that these elections had been “a gigantic organized disorder.” Like around fifteen embassies before him, the prelate called for “restraint.”

Tensions are feared when the winner of the presidential election is announced, in a country with a turbulent and often violent political history, with a subsoil immensely rich in minerals but with a predominantly poor population.

“We have taken all measures so that peace reigns,” assured the Minister of the Interior.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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