Kabila leads amid poll violence fears
06 December 2011, 11:00
Kinshasa - DR Congo President Joseph Kabila had a
10-point lead early on Tuesday over top challenger Etienne Tshisekedi,
with election officials due to name a winner later in the day amid fears
With just over two-thirds of polling centres
counted, Kabila, the Democratic Republic of Congo's ruler since 2001,
had 46.4% of the vote to 36.2% for Tshisekedi.
warned the November 28 polls, the second since back-to-back wars from
1996 to 2003, could plunge the vast central African country into chaos
no matter who is declared the winner.
The tension spilled over on
Monday into the Congolese diaspora in Belgium and South Africa, where
opposition supporters clashed with police.
National Electoral Commission (Ceni) was due to release a provisional
final count on Tuesday, a result the supreme court must then review and
make a official by December 17. The winner is scheduled to be sworn in
on December 20.
But Ceni chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda said early on Tuesday the commission may not make its deadline.
of all we're going to make sure that all the results’ sheets have
arrived and that we have all the information. If not, we won't be able
to give you more than a partial report," he said.
The Ceni had
been criticised for releasing figures that came mainly from Kabila
strongholds, but the latest tally was more geographically balanced.
counting entered the home stretch, Kabila appeared poised to benefit
from January constitutional changes that scrapped two-round elections in
favour of a single-round system, with the divided opposition field of
10 candidates splitting more than half the vote.
Tshisekedi has issued thinly veiled threats of violence if early results showing Kabila in the lead are not reversed.
On Saturday, he warned Kabila and Mulunda to "respect the will of the Congolese people".
they don't, they risk committing suicidal acts," said the challenger, a
prime minister-turned-opponent of former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
"I call all our people to stay vigilant so that if needed they can execute the orders I will give them."
‘Conflict risk alert’
who calls his supporters fighters, raised global concern and
condemnation during the campaign when he called on his partisans to
break into the country's prisons and free their comrades.
International Crisis Group has put the country on its "conflict risk
alert" together with Syria, citing clashes in Kinshasa on the eve of the
polls, deadly rebel attacks in the south-eastern city of Lubumbashi on
voting day, and a call from several opposition candidates for the vote
to be annulled.
In central Brussels, scores of angry DR Congo
opposition demonstrators alleging fraud in the elections staged running
battles with police on Monday, damaging shop windows and cars.
The marchers said they were protesting "Belgium's blind support of Kabila's corrupt government".
protesters and a policeman were hurt in the fray, with demonstrators
hurling paving stones and other objects at police, an AFP correspondent
Violence in South Africa
police fired rubber bullets to break up a group of demonstrators
gathered in front of the ANC’s headquarters to protest South Africa's
alleged involvement in vote fraud, Sapa reported.
protesters tried to storm the DR Congo embassy, breaking windows and
tearing down a gate. An AFP correspondent said five people were
Protests also took place in Cape Town, local media reported.
In Kinshasa, caravans of large trucks carrying armed police with gas masks could be seen on the streets.
tense climate drove more than 3 000 people to leave the city at the
weekend for Brazzaville, the capital of neighbouring Congo, which sits
about 4 kilometres across the Congo River.
By Monday the traffic had slowed to around 100, an immigration official said.
A youth group organised a "peace carnival" on Monday in the Gombe neighbourhood where the presidential palace is located.
have the impression there will be post-election conflicts and we want
to avoid that because it's we the young people who are the first
victims," organiser Josette Baongela, 24, told AFP.