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2 January 2019

In the DRC, the Bishops Conference delays the release of a preliminary election report

As the Democratic Republic of Congo anxiously awaits results of Sunday’s presidential election and with the Internet cut off across the country, the Catholic Bishops Conference has delayed the release of a preliminary observation report.

With internet connections and SMS services across the country suspended, political observers see the action an indication of the high tension prevailing in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Catholic Bishops Conference, Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) ‘s Election Observation Mission, which deployed 40,000 observers to oversee Sunday’s elections, said it postponed to Thursday the publication of a preliminary election observation report that was initially scheduled for release on Wednesday. CENCO cited the Internet shutdown as a reason.

AFP quoted CENCO’s Secretary General and spokesperson, Father Donatien Nshole announcing the postponement.

According to the DRC’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), provisional results of the polls are expected, at the latest, on Sunday, 6 January.

Three leading candidates vying to succeed DRC’s President Joseph Kabila are opposition leaders Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi. Kabila’s preferred successor is former interior minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

The DRC’s election was initially supposed to take place in 2016.