Complete provisional election results in DRC released: Oppositions rejects while Kinshasa trembles

Those are the results, as issued by Rev. Daniel Ngoyi Mulunda, chairman of the CENI yesterday afternoon in Kinshasa. The proclamation of these results do affirm what has become obvious during the various partial results published within the last week. Incumbent President Joseph Kabila has realised a landslide win according to CENI numbers, having obtained 48% compared to 33% of Etienne Tshisekedi, 7% of Vital Kamerhe, and few shares of the remaining minor candidates, among them Kengo wa Dondo, Nzanga Mobutu, and Mbusa Nyamwisi.

As the widespread accusation of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and various other types of electoral fraud have been partially confirmed by electoral observer missions, all opposition candidates are rejecting the numbers. Most notably, Etienne Tshisekedi has called the elections false and nil, and proclaimed himself President-elect of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The most crucial question in that regard is, to which degree fraud and manipulation have influenced the provisional complete results.

This opens the challenge to identify possibly fraudulent “circonscriptions” (electoral districts) because most polling stations have not been covered sufficiently neither by opposition parties, nor national observers, nor international observers. The so-called “procés verbaux”, the signed statements confirming the related results polling station per polling stations have arrived late, causing the massive delays of CENI announcement, but also have been impossible to verify by independent sources as per now. In Katanga, Kabila’s apparent stronghold, results have partly showed some soviet-style shape, with many districts displaying close to or even numerally 100% for the incumbent ( Without doubt, Kabila is likely to have those districts due to kinship and fiefdom advantage (like the district of Kabalo which is supposed to be the home constituency of Kabila, or Kabongo, Malemba, and Manono) but the striking numbers are actually surprising.

In Kinshasa, the immediate reactions have been mixed. While a few Kabila supporters started to drive through the boroughs of Gombe, Kinshasa, and Barumbu – celebrating their candidate’s victory, most Kinois have sought shelter in their homes to escape possible post-electoral clashes. The latter though, have remained few up to this time, and mainly occured in the boroughs of Lemba, Limété (Tshisekedi’s neighbourhood), Kasa-Vubu, and Ngiri-Ngiri as well as at the main University campus. Most of the events have caused minor numbers of injured and a couple of dead people while demonstrators burnt tyres and attacked security forces who disproportionally stroke back. While reports in that regard have been confirmed, police chief Bisengimana has denied any victims and government spokesman Mende declared, the government will handle the crisis. Meanwhile, the country remains with an “officially” reelected President Kabila (who has not yet addressed press or population) and the “popular” President Tshisekedi who has called for civil inobedience, supported by second major opposition figure Kamerhe, and also Mobutu, in calling the results nil.

The next days are likely to experience an intensifying discourse about rhetoric supremacy, accompanied by civil protests and governmental repression. At this point, international mediation that aimed at pressing the CENI to deliver as credible numbers as possible has failed and anti-Western riots (against a couple of foreign shops in Kinshasa) has been among the reactions. The official results are to be declared by the Supreme Court – similarly to the CENI a body largely controlled by Kabila loyalists. A considerable change of results has therefore not be expected. Tshisekedi has already mentioned he will not call upon the Supreme Court since he does not want to provide legitimacy to an electoral hold-up and an undemocratic legal institution.

This means that both sides have – at least during the first day after results proclamation – decided to leave the classically “democratic” way of political discourse: Tshisekedi tries, though without inciting to violence (!), to transfer the political struggle to the streets in terms of uprising and demonstrations, while Kabila hides behind security forces and employs the CENI and the Supreme Court as his proper political agents. Thus, we do not witness a levelled process. As many broadcasters and newspapers have already begun to spread fears of violence, outrage, and civil war style circumstances in Kinshasa (and also other parts of the country) it has to be clarified that up to now, violence by both sides has been comparably few. The situation in Kinshasa in particular has not lost intensity but no actual outbreak in whatever terms can be confirmed. Most of the mentioned events in Lemba, Limété, Kasa-Vubu and Ngiri-Ngiri turned out to be local in nature and no coherent, violent orgy of protest has been witnessed by either of my informants in town. Most other reliable commentators as observable on Twitter complete this kind of picture. As to the security forces, they have to be criticised for reacting disproportionally strong towards civilian demonstrators, but no significant observation of concerted large-scale state violence has been reported by reliable sources. In addition, ever more strange rumours are spreading, i.e. the apparent arrival of Rwandan soldiers wearing Congolese uniforms, just to name one of the most popular ones. I have not been able to verify many of those but I kindly beg all people working on DRC in these days to be really careful as words do also have potential to wage war and “radio trottoire” is an important variable in Kinshasa’s political arena.




7 Responses to “Complete provisional election results in DRC released: Oppositions rejects while Kinshasa trembles”
  1. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I’m hoping to check out the same
    high-grade content by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now ;)

  2. Jeroen says:

    Hi Christoph,
    Agree with you that the EU could and should play an important mediation role. Also agree that the absence of opposition observers in many polling stations (not only at the moment of voting, but equally -and perhaps more importantly – during the registration process) is highly regrettable. If anything, it has been this lack of organisation/presence by the opposition that will probably make it impossible to sufficiently de-legitimise the elections and credibly close the gap between the official results announced by the CENI (Kabila 49%) and those declared by Tshisekedi in the aftermath of this announcement (Tshisekedi 54%). That should leave some soulsearching for the opposition in the post-election period. As for the short term, my guess is, that if the different EOMs will indeed confirm in the coming days that there is insufficient evidence of rigging to the scale that the offiicial results are to be reversed, the Tshisekedi camp will soon run out of steam and the DRC will go back to business as usual. Then again, this is the DRC and in the current tense and fragile situation, everything is possible.
    Jeroen (left Kin a couple of months ago)

  3. ethuin says:

    Dear Jeroen, thank you for this comment I appreciate very much. Very briefly, I agree with your view but I think there still quite some credibility problems with regards to the results – even though disaggregated. Of course, it has been one of the successes of mediation and/or pressure to make the CENI publish results in that way. Notwithstanding, the large-scale absence of non-partisan and opposition observers may still be a major obstacle for credibility in general. In addition, I did not want to blame the “international community” straightforward, rather I want to urge all involved actors to make even more efforts to increase opportunities for peaceful solutions in the current tense context. I am not sure whether single countries such as France, Germany, the USA, the UK, or Belgium can play the constructive role they should since some of those bilateral ties are a bit strained, but I am more optimistic the EU can contribute to improvements.
    But in any case – thank you for this inspiring comment. Best regards, Christoph
    PS: Are you still in Kinshasa?

  4. Jeroen says:

    Thanks for an interesting opinion piece on the current situation in the DRC. While Tshisekedi is quick to denounce the results, it is remarkable indeed that Kabila has not made any formal statement on his re-election. Not sure if I agree with your statement that: “At this point, international mediation that aimed at pressing the CENI to deliver as credible numbers as possible has failed”. I would rather say that it is amongst others due to international pressure that CENI has published disaggregate results on its website allowing a comparison of results per polling station with those known to the opposition and the electoral observers. The coming days should therefore shed more light on the relative credibility of the announced results, shedding more light on whether Tshisekedi’s rapid statement that he has garnered over 50% of the vote is more or less credible then the provisional results declared yesterday by CENI.

  5. ethuin says:

    yes, vincent, great point. i am quite aware that also my information could be taken for a rumour. the only thing we all can do is stick to as unemotional research as possible. and not to incite any strong reactions by what we write. for my part, i hope i can contribute to that at least a little bit. please tell me, if you still find difficult points in my writing. thanks!

  6. The question is off course who decides what is a rumor and what is the truth.

  7. I’m very much looking forward to see what will happen next. Here in Brussels as well.

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