A second day of elections in the DR Congo: Annulling the poll or continuing the electoral chaos?
Not enough ballot paper, pre-marked papers, unpaid electoral workers and now the call for annulment of the elections people longed for so desperately in the DRC. Four of the eleven presidential candidates for their part called upon the officials from the election commission to annul the elections. Their reproach: Ballot rigging.
After the official day of elections yesterday in the DR Congo, more and more irregularities appear. In the course of the elections, electoral material was not delivered in time and today soldiers of the UN peacekeeping mission MONUSCO were still busy delivering missing material to several regions throughout the country. Due to a lack of infrastructure and missing ballot paper, votes went on very slowly yesterday and locally often delayed. The result was frustration among voters who waited partly for the whole day to make use of their right to vote. In other polling stations voters learned that someone had already voted for them. The election commission reacted this morning and announced the opening of some 400 polling stations for a second day. Voters who could not vote yesterday had the chance to return to the polling stations a second time.
While thousands of voters returned today, Vital Kamerhe among three other candidates called the elections a fraud. He pleads that the elections should be annulled and repeated another time. According to BBC he stated in a letter sent to the election commission and international organizations:
There can be no doubt as to the scale of the fraud, deliberately planned by those in power with the connivance of the national election commission.”
But while the four candidates plead for an annulment of the ongoing elections, other regions already started or even finished counting the votes.
It is currently difficult to take an exact overview of the situation of the election in DR Congo. Reports from all over the country differ and the stage of polls is differing from region to region. Up to now the election commission did not announce an annulment of the elections. Election commission spokesperson Matthieu Mpita rather said:
Voters who are at sites where ballots ran out and where the vote had to be interrupted for whatever reason are asked to stay calm and await further instructions.”
If the commission is going to stick to their plan finishing the ongoing elections with current president Kabila not going to be removed from office, the confrontation between the government and its oppositional challengers is likely to aggravate. On the one hand an annulment would make a total new organization of another election day necessary which would be very costly. On the other hand it would give the country another chance of holding better organized free and independent elections.