DR Congo presidential contenders say they will accept election results – UN
Leading Congolese presidential contenders President Joseph Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba are committed to supporting an independent commission tallying the votes from last month’s runoff between them, the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUC) said today.
Mr. Kabila and Mr. Bemba reaffirmed that commitment yesterday in a joint statement pledging not to speculate on results of the election, which was the first to be held in the country in over four decades. Both candidates also acknowledged that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the sole authority empowered to announce the results, MONUC said.
Since the election, rampant speculation on the final tally triggered the IEC to issue preliminary results earlier this week, while the Congolese High Authority on Media will impose sanctions on local media outlets that might deliberately misrepresent or disrupt the proper announcement of the election results, according to MONUC.
To date, 85 per cent of the ballots have reached the capital city of Kinshasa for certification and final results are expected 19 November, the Mission said.
MONUC also announced that results from the South Kivu province have set a new record for the DRC, with 90.16 per cent of the region’s 1.6 million registered voters cast their ballots in the 29 October election. Voters in that region largely supported incumbent Mr. Kabila, MONUC noted.
The mission praised Congolese voters for their “courage and optimism” during last month’s presidential run off in the country’s first election in over 40 years.
While describing the situation as more calm than tense, MONUC voiced concern about insecurity in certain areas. The DRC Armed Forces still fail to demonstrate discipline on the ground and others are perpetrators of human rights violations, MONUC military spokesman Lt. Col. Stéphane Lescoffit said today at a press briefing, pointing to corruption cases in Ituri district and reports of violent demonstrations in Mbandaka, Boende, Bumba and Basankusu.
He added that MONUC will remain vigilant and prevent any recourse to violence by those who want to oppose the choice of the Congolese people.
MONUC currently has over 18,000 uniformed personnel in the DRC to help the country rebuild after the six-year conflict ended in 1999.