Second partial tranche of DRC election results: CENI gives Kabila clear lead

Yesterday’s evening has been time for release of the second partial communication of election results by the National Independent Electoral Commission in Democratic Republic of Congo. While those new results include 30% of the votes cast across DRC, the provincial level of counting is varying between 3% (Kinshasa) and 67% (Bas-Congo) with all other provinces being somewhere in between. Having a look at the number of voters per province, especially the case of Kinshasa gives ground for much volatility during the next couple of days but also further developments in other provinces, such as the Kivus, may challenge the current trends.

No big surprise has been the actual distribution of the votes: Incumbent Joseph Kabila Kabange slightly crosses absolute majority with 50,5% while his main challenger Etienne Tshisekedi wa Mulumba get a share of 34,4% (which is a remarkable difference, as both have been predicted to compete shoulder to shoulder). Many analysts have pointed to the low counting status in Kinshasa where Tshisekedi is expected to gain a lion’s share but those fail to recognise that especially North Kivu, South Kivu and Orientale which bear similar potential for Kabila are only integrated to some 20-35% in the current results.

While the top-contenders are far ahead, all other opposition candidates perform rather weakly: Kamerhe 5,2%, Kengo wa Dondo 3,1%, Mbusa Nyamwisi 2,0%, and Nzanga Mobutu 1,8%. Interestingly, all of them perform poorly on a national basis but are exceptionally strong in their ‘fiefdoms’ Equateur (Kengo and Mobutu), North Kivu (Nyamwisi) and South Kivu (Kamerhe).  The others (Andeka, Bombole, Kakese, Kashala, and Mukendi) do no even pass the 1% threshold.

As further, more complete results are expected today or tomorrow, the main questions are the following:

Which numbers is the CENI providing next?

This is probably one aspect most commentators of the current events in DRC are wondering about. I have not seen any media piece outlining a clear strategy employed by the CENI as to how the counting is planned and carried out. Contrarily, most information on the counting is, even if mostly quiet and peaceful, the procedure is unorganised, chaotic, and permanently threatened by heavy rainfalls as lots of compilation centres are outside, most notably in Kinshasa. A TV5 Monde video shows the biggest centre of the capital being located at FIKIN, the largest Congolese fair close to Limété neighbourhood. In that regard, there is no real possibility to predict which kind of results the CENI will be providing next. The most probable thing would be a partial extension of the yet published two rounds, where the capital’s share is growing slowly pretty much as Tshisekedi’s own. Notwithstanding, due to the current lead of Kabila it seems now rather difficult for popular challenger “YaTshiTshi” to get hold of the incumbent.

Can the elections be labelled sufficiently free from violence, ballot stuffing, rigged counting, and manipulation?

That question has to be answered separately from the rest of the article. All previous observations and arguments do not necessarily say anything about the correctness of those elections. As I have written a couple of days ago and many other commentators as well, the polls have been interveined by massive irregularities that can – at best – be qualified minor if they are put into perspective within the vast territory of the country. Still, I tend to argue they cannot be relativised that way. If dozens of polling stations are burnt down or otherwise destroyed, if hundred (if not thousands) of citizens are basically not allowed to cast their vote because they are supposed to have gone to the wrong polling station (although this procedure is part of the national electoral law, fraudulent application of those rules have been traceably signalled) is becomes quite difficult to speak of a free and fair election. In addition, the whole counting procedure largely happens under non-verifiable circumstances and no considerable observer mission has been able to secure enough presence on the ground to give a potent judgement, even if some of them pretend to do so (suffice to have a look at how much observers they have sent and compare this number with the number of polling districts or polling stations in order to realise that it is de facto not possible). Whichever results is going to be announced in the end, there is no proof for its accuracy and integrity, and therefore no “reason” for many of the opposition candidates to accept it – as voiced by some 5 candidates including Kamerhe after the first partial results and even more loudly by all 10 opposition candidates including Tshisekedi after the second partial results yesterday.

Do the international community and DRC’s regional environment have a concrete stance on the elections?

This is probably the most simple of all questions. At least with regards to the international community, there is a strong tendency that everybody – Security Council permanent members in particular – might be quite satisfied with maintaining the status quo of a violent peace and a certain political stability in dealing with Kabila instead of Tshisekedi. The international commitment to the elections has been marginal and so will be the political and military reaction in case of an escalation. On the regional front, the main attention lies on Rwanda, Uganda, Angola and South Africa. While Kagame has grown into a fierce ally of Kabila (in exchange for mineral access and FDLR “hunting rights”!?) also South Africa has in most recent times shown a certain positive rapport towards the Kabila government. Similar to Rwanda, South Africa seems to be highly interested in regional stability in the area. The case of Uganda is a little more complicated. Museveni has basically not engaged in any way during the last months and the DRC issue is not publicly present in Uganda. Still, I guess Uganda is – due to negotiation experiences and stability considerations – not unhappy if Kabila stays in power. For the case of Angola, I would not dare such a guess, since I am lacking adequate information and Angola probably constitutes the most ambiguous regional power in the area. Brazzaville, Bangui, Bujumbura and Lusaka are rather outsiders with regards to those issues, which is why I do not have a closer look at them.

What scenarios might emerge, if December 6th the (perhaps still provisional) complete results will be published?

Again, an extremely tough question. First of all, it is still possible that complete results will not be announced December 6th, but few days later. This would contradict the electoral law but I am quite sure that the CENI (and probably the government) will find some way to go through with it. Second, it is quite clear that there will be incidents and there will be violence. None of the included actors, neither parties, candidates, nor the authorities or the international actors such as MONUSCO have been successful in excluding and condemning any type of violence from the electoral process. Therefore, it is absolutely unlikely that an announcement of results that will definitely appear unjust or fraudulent to some 50% of the population (in Kinshasa maybe even more than that) will be received and replied peacefully without exception. This is why, third, the most interesting question is how much and how intense outrage we will have to witness.

Five scenarios:

1) Kabila wins and the result is contested by all others. There a re large riots and plundering in Kinshasa, security forces ares struggling to maintain order but the situation gets out of control and neither MONUSCO is able to stabilise it. This is one of the worst cases, which I do not consider that likely: 40%

2) Kabilas win is shattered by riots and uprisings but his forces are easily able to restore order and things go on how they used to since 2006. In my view, quite a probable option: 80%

3) Tshisekedi wins and Kabila steps down for a peaceful democratic transition. As far as things have developed till now, this is not possible anymore to me: 10%

4) Tshisekedi wins and Kabila refuses to hand over power. There a re large riots and plundering in Kinshasa, security forces ares struggling to maintain order but the situation gets out of control and neither MONUSCO is able to stabilise it. Another worst case, which is similarly not very likely, but not impossible: 30%

5) Admittedly, now I go for a very volatile guess: The CENI fails to produce complete results till December 6th. People start rioting and there is growing unrest throughout Kinshasa, soon affecting Lubumbashi, Kananga, Mbuji-Mayi and other key cities. The country breaks apart with diverging power centres and a fierce struggle over Kinshasa (where Kabila benefits from security forces and Tshisekedi from popular support) begins. The escalation prompts either a UN/AU or a UN/EUFOR mission (the latter is less likely) which after a difficult start mitigates violence while negotiations start that lead to a Kenyan style agreement between Kabila and Tshisekedi. This might appear a quaint fairy tale to many experts, but still I thought it may add to the other scenarios, albeit only to keep minds open for contingence. Still, it is not a likely option: 10%

Anyway, the next couple of days will be extremely interesting for observers, but more and more tense for Congolese, especially Kinois. I pretty much hope, the inert “international community” is aware of the dangers and will at least find a way to positively engage in that process in case there is a major escalation (which I still hope, might not happen at all).

6 Responses to “Second partial tranche of DRC election results: CENI gives Kabila clear lead”
  1. site says:

    How come you dont have your site viewable in mobile format? Can not view anything in my iPad.

  2. Jonna Womac says:

    I like the valuable info you supply to your articles. I will bookmark your blog and take a look at once more here frequently. I am slightly certain I will be informed many new stuff proper right here! Good luck for the following!

  3. ethuin says:

    Dear Andrea, I understand your anger, but please try to be a little more serious and come up with arguments when you comment next time. Thank you!

  4. Andrea says:

    Kabila must stepdown! 10 years in power are enough. Does he want also what happened to Bagbo to happen to him? Or Gadafi? Enough is enough give also chance to others. It better to die honorably than to die disgracably.

  5. ethuin says:

    nothing new, everybody knows. you have to come over and give arguments for your statement. this blog is made for impartial and holistic analyses not for allegation, accusations and interest-driven politics.

  6. leonard bakajika says:

    All the numbers received by Kabila are fake , because he is a liar and a cheater. The only prominent and famous candidate all congolese expect to win the election is Tshisekedi Etienne. Don’t tell us the lies.

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