The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Monday began counting ballots from a presidential election marked by delays and fears of violence and vote-rigging, straining hopes for its first-ever peaceful transfer of power.
After a relatively bloodless vote, election officials embarked on the marathon task of counting and collating, their work scrutinised by opposition parties for any sign of fraud.
Sunday’s elections went ahead after two years of delays and sporadic clashes in the notoriously unstable country.
But the influential Catholic church, through its national conference of bishops, declared the vote had been “relatively calm”.
Reported incidents included harassment of some election monitors and a clash in the restive eastern province of South Kivu that left four dead.
Two telecoms operators, Global and Vodacom, said the government had ordered them to cut access to the Internet on Monday — a move that opposition supporters said aimed at blocking social-media activism.
The DRC has never had a peaceful transition of leader since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
Worries of a new spiral into violence deepened in 2016 after President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001, refused to quit when his two-term limit expired.
Source: Times Live