Leaked data shows Fayulu ‘won’ DRC election

The Financial Times has a scoop with two leaked datasets from the election in DRC. These purport to show the results from individual polling stations with one of the files being data from more than 80% of the voting machines in use in the country.

The data shows that Martin Fayulu – who was declared to have come second in the poll – actually won with 59.4% of the vote. The declared winner Felix Tshisekedi had 19% of the vote and the candidate endorsed by outgoing President Kabila, Emmanuel Shadary gaining 18%.

This dataset is said to be very close to the numbers collected by the Catholic Church in the country which had 40,000 observers on the ground on election day.

The irony noted by the FT is that this dataset comes from voting machines that opposition activists condemned as likely to increase the chance of the vote being rigged.

Mr Fayulu has lodged an appeal against the result with the courts in DRC.

UPDATE: The African Union has said that it has serious doubts over the veracity of the result and has urged the electoral commission of DRC to delay making it official. In a statement, the AU said:

The Heads of State and Government agreed to urgently dispatch to the DRC a high-level delegation comprising the Chairperson of the Union and other Heads of State and Government, as well as the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to interact with all Congolese stakeholders, with the view to reaching a consensus on a way out of the post-electoral crisis in the country.

DRC election ‘loser’ lodges court appeal as neighbouring countries call for recount

African nations have called for a recount in the controversial Presidential election in Democratic Republic of Congo and the candidate who was declared to have come second has launched a court challenge to the result.

The Guardian reports:

Sunday’s statement from the Southern African Development Community, which includes 16 states, notes the “strong doubts cast on the poll outcome by the … church, the opposition coalition and other observers” and calls for a recount “to provide the necessary reassurance to both winners and losers”. The organisation also suggested “a negotiated political settlement for a government of national unity”.

There was good news for the outgoing President Joseph Kabila as parties loyal to him won a majority in the 500 seat Parliament meaning that, whoever is eventually declared the winner of the Presidential poll, he will still have strong influence on the running of the country.

The same paper also has an earlier article looking at the state of elections in Africa as the continent prepares to host more than 20 national polls this year.

Officials say Felix Tshisekedi is new DRC President

Felix Tshisekedi has been announced as the winner of the election to become the Democratic Republic of Congo’s new President. The result will prove to be controversial not because outgoing President Joseph Kabila’s hand-picked candidate didn’t win, but because the expected outcome was a victory for outspoken opposition candidate Martin Fayulu.

The delay in announcing the results also caused some agitation. The results were meant to be made known on Sunday but were announced at about 2am local time on Thursday.

The powerful Catholic church, among others, has urged calm but has made it known that it believes the true winner of the poll was Mr Fayulu. France has also indicated that it believes the announced result may not be accurate.

The full results were, with turnout reportedly 48%:

  • Felix Tshisekedi – 7 million votes
  • Martin Fayulu – 6.4 million votes
  • Emmanuel Shadary – 4.4 million votes

There is a ten day period from the announcement of these results for the filing of complaints and appeals. 

Mr Tshisekedi has already talked in terms of working closely with outgoing President Kabila as partners rather than opponents and it seems that President Kabila has accepted this result. Alternatively, it is suggested that his forces have chosen this outcome as a less bad alternative to a victory for Mr Fayulu.

Click to read Guardian and BBC write-ups on the result.

Election Day in Bangladesh, DRC

Today is Election Day in both Bangladesh and Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Bangladesh a BBC report claims to have seen ballot boxes filled with votes before polls opened. The same report claims that opposition campaigners are muted by threats from state forces. The Guardian has also reported.

In DRC the poll has been much delayed and is only taking place in part of the country. US Senator (and potential Presidential candidate) Cory Booker has tweeted his own concerns about the election.

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The Guardian has a report on polling day suggesting that there have been multiple violations and logistical problems in addition to the three districts where voting has not taken place.

DRC elections postponed again

The elections in Democratic Republic of Congo, scheduled for Sunday, have been postponed for a week. The polls were originally meant to take place by the end of 2016 as President Joseph Kabila came to the end of his second term in office.

Last week there was a fire at a centre storing controversial voting machines and ballot papers and the new delay is being blamed on the need to print new ballot papers which have yet to arrive.

I understand that there are also issues with the training of poll workers and other essential materials which may not be ready. There is also concern about how ballot materials will be distributed to polling stations in a country with little road infrastructure and a shortage of official vehicles.

However, any delay risks inciting violence as opposition supporters believe postponements are being provoked in order to allow President Kabila to remain in power.

According to The Guardian:

Local media reported CENI (the electoral commission) had cited three reasons for the delay: the deaths of more than 100 people in ethnic violence in the north-west this week, an outbreak of Ebola in the east and a shortfall in the number of ballot papers it had been able to distribute.

The DRC refused international assistance with the organisation of the election. This was despite the massive logistical challenge of a poll in a violent, unstable country the size of western Europe that has no proper road or rail system and a population of about 80 million people.

Campaigning has already been banned in Kinshasa because of concerns about violence.

If violence does erupt in the wake of the postponement, it may lead to further delays.

Both SADEC and the African Union have observation missions in DRC for the polls and the UN has a significant presence in the country.