December 14, 2011 / 5:13 AM / 7 years ago

Chaotic Congo vote count mars credibility of result: EU

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Lack of transparency during vote count in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s elections, undermined the credibility of results in which incumbent Joseph Kabila was declared winner, the European Union’s observer mission said on Tuesday.

Supporters of incumbent President Joseph Kabila celebrate through a banner with his image after provisional election results are announced in Democratic Republic of Congo's capital Kinshasa, December 9, 2011. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun

Kabila, who won 49 percent of the vote, has dismissed concerns over irregularities and corruption.

The observer mission of the 27-nation EU said that a chaotic compilation process, coupled with the fact that observers were not allowed to witness certain crucial stages undermined “the confidence and credibility of the results announced”.

“The publication of the provisional results remains characterised by a lack of transparency,” it said in a statement.

The EU said observers had been prevented from doing their job in parts of the vast country, including Kabila’s political heartland of Katanga and opposition stronghold Kinshasa, where votes from more than 2,000 polling stations have disappeared.

“Problems with electoral registration meant that 17 percent of voters were able to vote despite not being on the list, more than double the figure for 2006,” the EU said.

Nationwide, votes from nearly 5,000 polling stations were not counted, affecting a possible 1.6 million voters, according to the EU, while figures from some polling stations did not tally with the electoral commission’s figures, notably in the Katanga’s provincial capital Lubumbashi.

Kabila has brushed off doubts over the credibility of the polls while the head of the election commission has said any irregularities during the poll were not enough to have changed the outcome.

The November 28 vote was meant to move Congo towards greater stability after a 1998-2003 war that killed more than five million people. Instead it was marked by violence and chaotic preparations in addition to the allegations of fraud.

Veteran opposition challenger Etienne Tshisekedi, who came second, called the outcome “a provocation” and said he considered himself Congo’s new president.

Another opposition challenger, Vital Kamerhe, said he had lodged a formal complaint with the Supreme Court charged with ratifying the results. The court has until Saturday to either validate the results or annul some or all of the results.

“It is the responsibility of political actors and Congolese institutions to carry out their own investigation of the results and to identify solutions to the current situation,” Maria Nedelcheva, the head of the EU mission said in the statement.

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