As Votes Are Counted, FreeFair DRC Urges Transparent Process and Restraint by Candidates, Supporters, and Security Forces
KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 2, 2011/PRNewswire via African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In response to recent, troubling reports about the lack of security of ballot materials at compilations centres in Kinshasa, FreeFair DRC urges the Congolese authorities to redouble their efforts to ensure a credible and transparent vote tabulation process. Uncertainty and skepticism about the way ballots are being tabulated is contributing to an increasingly tense and potentially explosive atmosphere in the run-up to the announcement of polling results.
FreeFair DRC also calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and international observers to investigate continuing reports of planes filled with ballot papers arriving in the DRC from South Africa, well after the end of polling.
Further, FreeFair DRC calls on candidates, political parties and their supporters to avoid inflaming the situation by spreading rumours and misinformation. In particular, reports about fabricated election results being sold on the streets of Kinshasa are deeply concerning.
In the run-up to the release of election results, FreeFair DRC joins with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and other international NGOs in urging restraint on the part of the Congolese security forces. The release from HRW today, noting that electoral violence between 26 November and 28 November left at least 18 civilians dead and 100 seriously wounded, is deeply concerning. Violent incidents must be thoroughly investigated and those responsible held to account.
Speaking of the potential for future violence if restraint is not exercised on all sides, FreeFair DRC's in country representative Herman Nzeza said:
"Tensions are rising here in Kinshasa. We could be experiencing the calm before the storm as all sides await the results of these historic elections.
"If the Congolese people do not feel there is a credible process and a legitimate avenue to contest results, I fear they will turn to the streets. I am also deeply worried about the ability of the security forces to maintain peace and contain protests using non-lethal means."
For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or:
Christopher Cooper, [email protected], +1.202.384.8925 (Washington, DC)
Herman Nzeza Malungidi, [email protected], +0024-389-7544-259 (Kinshasa)
Source: FreeFair DRC