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DR Congo: Churches Demand Inquiries into Election Results Before Acceptance 

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The aftermath of the December general elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been marred by controversy and demands for accountability.

As earlier reported, Incumbent Felix Tshisekedi claimed victory with over 73% of the vote, but allegations of irregularities and legal violations have surfaced, prompting a joint call from the influential Catholic and Protestant churches for an independent inquiry.

The CENCO-ECC, comprising Catholic and Protestant leaders, released a joint statement insisting that the presidential and legislative election results should only be deemed acceptable following the establishment of an inquiry.

These religious groups had deployed thousands of independent observers to monitor the polls, documenting various irregularities on election day and thereafter.

Reports of extensive logistical challenges, including prolonged delays, malfunctioning voting machines, and stations either opening late or not at all, marred the election.

Many voters encountered issues with smudged ink on their cards, rendering them illegible.

These complications led to an unscheduled extension of voting, raising questions of legality, particularly as parts of the country continued casting ballots days after the official election date.

The opposition, citing these challenges, vehemently denounced the election as fraudulent, rejecting the provisional results. Consequently, two formal appeals challenging the provisional presidential results have been submitted to Congo’s constitutional court, which faces a deadline of January 12 to finalize the outcome.

Election chief Denis Kadima confirmed a significant turnout of over 40%, with approximately 18 million people exercising their voting rights.

However, as the country awaits the constitutional court’s deliberation, tensions persist amid the calls for an impartial investigation into the alleged irregularities, underscoring the fragility of the electoral process in the DRC.

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