Political tensions persist throughout the country as of Friday, January 18, following calls by the African Union to suspend the release of the general election final results, due to serious concerns over the provisional results. The final results were expected to be released on January 18, after the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges filed by defeated opposition candidate Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka coalition. Fayulu has rejected the results claiming the vote was rigged. The Lamuka coalition has called for a peaceful march to take place in Bukavu on Saturday, January 19, to demand the "truth of the ballot boxes"; supporters are expected to gather at Place Mulamba at 09:00 (local time) and march towards the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) local building.
Further election-related protests are possible in the coming days in the capital Kinshasa and other urban centers, particularly when the official results will be released. Clashes between rival political supporters and with security forces are likely.
In the meantime, police forces in Kinshasa announced they will stage daily and nightly patrols in some neighborhoods of the capital, where increased political tensions, e.g. death threats to supporters of winning candidate Felix Tshisekedi, have been reported.
Many western governments have advised their nationals to postpone any travel to the DRC at least until the end of January.
DRC held general elections on December 30 to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is ineligible to run for another term. There were numerous allegations of electoral fraud and voter intimidation and several people were killed in election-related violence. Opposition candidate Tshisekedi was declared winner of the presidential elections with 38.57 percent of the vote, Fayulu obtained 34.83 percent of the vote, while Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary candidate of the ruling FCC (Front Commun pour le Changement) coalition obtained 23.84 percent of the vote. The legislative elections were won by the FFC. Meanwhile, the vote is still due to take place in March in Beni, Butembo, and Yumbi where it was postponed due to security and health issues.
Individuals in the DRC are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations due to the risk of violence and arrest, refrain from discussing political topics in public, adhere to all instructions issued by their home government and local authorities.
Copyright and Disclaimer