DR Congo election: Three ministers and four governors disqualified for fraud and violence

A Patriots Union for the Liberation of Congo (UPLC) militiaman stands guard at a polling station in Kalunguta, Beni Territory, North-Kivu Province, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, on December 20, 2023.
Image caption,This polling station in the east was guarded by a member of a local militia

By Emery Makumeno in Kinshasa & Joseph Winter in London

BBC News

Three ministers and four governors have been disqualified from last month’s election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, because of fraud and violence.

They are among 82 candidates excluded from the legislative, provincial and local elections by the electoral body.

But its announcement did not address the presidential election that saw President FĂ©lix Tshisekedi re-elected by a landslide.

The opposition has called the entire election a “sham” and demanded a rerun.

Eight of the 18 opposition candidates have responded to the electoral commission’s statement by saying it had now “confessed to the fraud”.

Martin Fayulu, who came third in the presidential race, asked “by what magic… only the legislative elections were corrupted and not the presidential one”?

Only one candidate has gone to court to challenge the poll. The main ones say they have no faith in the courts and have instead called for the population to “resist electoral fraud” without giving any details.

The 20 December election was marred by widespread logistical problems. It had to be extended to an unplanned second day in some parts of the vast country.

About two-thirds of polling stations opened late, while 30% of voting machines did not work on the first day, according to an observer group.

Millions of people waited for hours before they were able to vote. Many gave up and went home.

In its statement disqualifying the 82 candidates, the electoral commission said they had committed fraud, corruption, acts of violence against election workers and voters, and vandalism of equipment.

Among those barred are:

  • Antoinette Kipulu Kabenga, minister for vocational training
  • Didier Mazenga Mukanzu, regional integration minister
  • Nana Manwanina Kiumba, a minister in the president’s office
  • Gentiny Ngobila, the governor of Kinshasa province
  • Three other provincial governors and 10 senators

Supporters of Mr Ngobila have taken to the streets to protest at what they term the politically motivated disqualification.

The ministers have not yet commented but the party of President Tshisekedi says it disassociates itself from the 12 of its members who were banned.

All votes cast for the 82 candidates have been annulled. The results of the elections they were contesting have not yet been declared – only the result of the presidential race has been announced so far.

There were about 100,000 candidates across all the elections held on 20 December.

The commission also said elections would be cancelled in two of the country’s 182 constituencies. It was not possible to vote at all in a further two areas in the east, because of the presence of armed groups in the mineral-rich region, as well as one part of the west.

Despite the problems, election chief Denis Kadima has previously insisted that the presidential result reflected the will of the Congolese people.

Mr Tshisekedi, 60, was elected for a second term with 73% of the vote, with his nearest challenger, mining magnate and former provincial governor Moise Katumbi, on 18%. Mr Fayulu, a former oil executive, got 5%.

Official turnout was just 43%.

If the results are confirmed by the http://kolechai.com/ Constitutional Court, President Tshisekedi will be sworn in for a second term on 20 January.

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