World

DRC Election: Government Continues Internet Blackout To Avoid Tension Before Results

The DRC government has blocked access to internet and SMS services in the country

The people of the Democratic Republic of Congo are now eagerly waiting for the Presidential election results after successful polls last Sunday. The government, however, has blocked access to internet and SMS services in the country as vote counting progresses to avert possible tension and violence following the result announcement.

Presidential advisor Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi said fictitious election results circulating on social media could spark chaos in DRC.

“That could lead us straight toward chaos,” Kikaya told Reuters.

Kikaya confirmed that the internet connectivity would remain cut until the election results get announced on January 6, reported News24.

Meanwhile, leading Western Powers have called out the DRC government to restore internet access in the country which was cut a day earlier following presidential elections on order of the authorities. The main Congolese election monitoring organizations have also requested the government to up internet connectivity in the centers where vote counting is in progress.

The European Union, the United States, Canadian and Swiss heads of mission in Kinshasa have also signed a joint statement requesting the administration to restore access to the internet and media.

“We request that the government refrains from blocking means of communication, in particular, access to the internet and the media,” the statement read.

The long-delayed election was meant to choose a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who is due to step down next month after being 18 years in power.

Interestingly, all the three front-runners among the 21 candidates for the presidency including Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is Kabila’s preferred successor, Felix Tshisekedi, and Martin Fayulu have already claimed the vote is going their way.

The opposition has accused the government of rigging the election results by blocking all means of communication as Kabila plans to rule from the sidelines through his preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The first partial results are expected from the National Electoral Commission (CENI) by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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