November 29, 2011 / 2:42 PM / 7 years ago

Congo's Kamerhe calls for vote to be annulled

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Congolese opposition candidate Vital Kamerhe called on Tuesday for the Central African state’s elections to be annulled, alleging systematic fraud.

A file photo of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) accepting a painting from Congolese opposition candidate, Vital Kamerhe. REUTERS\Joe Bavier (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO)

Kamerhe, a former minister in President Joseph Kabila’s government, alleged cases of pre-marked ballots in favour of Kabila, and cited accounts of voters being prevented from entering polling stations in several provinces.

“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,” Kamerhe wrote in a letter to Kabila, the election commission and international bodies.

“Police chased witnesses from polling stations before counting could start,” he said of reports by international observers and others that security forces took control of voting stations in Kinshasa.

Kamerhe is a top opposition figure but his appeal outside his native east is not considered as broad as that of Etienne Tshisekedi, Kabila’s closest challenger for president.

At least eight people were killed in violence linked to Monday’s presidential and parliamentary elections, the second since the end of Congo’s 1998-2003 civil war.

Authorities went ahead with the polls despite widespread concerns of a lack of preparation. Opposition candidates had complained before polling began of irregularities and a bias within the electoral commission in favour of Kabila.

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