DRC: Police And Opposition Supporters Clash Over Elections

7 months agoThu, 28 Dec 2023 08:14:38 GMT
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DRC: Police And Opposition Supporters Clash Over Elections

There were clashes between police and opposition supporters in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the supporters demanded the annulment of last week’s presidential election, which they believe was fraudulent. Police fired tear gas and threw stones at the protesters in the capital city, Kinshasa. The government had banned the protest, stating that it would not tolerate any attempts to undermine the electoral process.

Election officials have not yet provided the exact number of polling stations that opened or the number of people who voted in the December 20 election. Approximately 44 million people were registered to vote at around 75,000 polling stations. The current president, Etienne Tshisekedi, is leading the race with almost 80% of the vote, as he seeks a second term. Moïse Katumbi, a football tycoon and mining magnate, is in second place with about 16% of the vote. Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive who claims he was robbed of victory in the 2018 election, is in third place with about 4%.

Fayulu’s supporters clashed with police and burned tires outside his campaign headquarters in Kinshasa. Police were positioned on major roads in the city and prevented a march to the headquarters of the electoral commission. Fayulu reported that 11 of his supporters were injured, while police reported two injuries on their side.

The election process was marred by logistical delays and administrative chaos, resulting in voting being extended to a second day in some areas. The opposition has accused the electoral commission of orchestrating fraud and ballot stuffing to ensure Tshisekedi’s victory. However, the commission denies these allegations.

The Democratic Republic of Congo faces challenges due to its lack of basic infrastructure, despite being roughly four times the size of France. Many of its main cities are not connected by roads. Additionally, about two-thirds of the country’s population of 100 million live below the poverty line, earning $2.15 or less per day. Insecurity in the eastern parts of the country prevented elections from taking place in those areas. Numerous armed groups are vying for control of the region, which is rich in mineral resources like cobalt, an essential component of lithium batteries used in renewable energy technologies.

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