By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Tension is running high as large numbers of Police officers have been deployed in the streets of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, ahead of a planned demonstration against recent elections in the central African country, AFP reports.
Government had on Tuesday placed a ban on the protest. According to the Congolese interior minister Peter Kazadi, the ban was because it “aims to harm the electoral process.”
Leading opposition politicians have rejected last week’s vote, which was marred by unplanned extension and technical hitches, calling for a demonstration to denounce the voting which they call “fraud”.
Despite the ban, opposition has urged supporters to gather near the national assembly in Kinshasa and march to the headquarters of the country’s electoral commission.
Dozens of riot police were stationed in the area on Wednesday morning, according to AFP reporters.
About 44 million voters were registered to vote on December 20 in the simultaneous elections to choose a president, national and regional lawmakers, and municipal councillors.
But the electoral commission struggled to get voting materials to polling booths on time, leaving some people unable to cast ballots.
Voting was officially extended by a day to account for the problems, and even lasted until Christmas Day in some remote areas.
The opposition claimed there was “total chaos” and denounced irregularities.
The archbishop of Kinshasa likewise described the election as a “gigantic organised mess”.
Preliminary results released by the electoral commission show incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi well ahead, with 79 percent of some six million ballots counted so far.
The 60-year-old, who came to office in 2019 after the country’s first peaceful transfer of power, is running for a second five-year term.
Moise Katumbi, another candidate and former governor of the south-east Katanga region, has received about 14 percent of the votes counted so far.
He is followed by Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive who says he is the rightful winner of the 2018 election that brought the incumbent to power, with four percent of the votes counted.