DECEMBER 23, 2023
GOMA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO — In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Independent National Electoral Commission published partial results Friday for the December 20 presidential election. This first session focused solely on the diaspora vote by Congolese in South Africa, the United States, Canada, Belgium and France.
Only 5,300 of the expected 11,000 voters turned out at the polls, with incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi taking 4,294 votes (80.99%), followed by opponent Moise Katumbi with 584 votes (11%).
In all five foreign countries where the Democratic Republic of Congo tallied presidential votes by diaspora, incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi came out ahead. According to the electoral commission, he won 80% of the vote.
The chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Denis Kadima, rejected criticism from the opposition and independent observers that the vote was chaotic and lacked credibility. He praised the work done by his institution, saying it had done its best to organize a timely election, which he described as credible, transparent and inclusive.
“Nobody could have imagined that this would be possible,” said Kadima. “It’s true that it’s difficult to meet the expectations of all our compatriots, but we were delighted to see how patient and enthusiastic voters were in participating in this process.”
Some opposition members called for new elections to be held. They argued for the current ballot to be annulled, claiming it was riddled with irregularities.
Kadima admitted there were errors, such as the extension of voting day, and he said that everything had been done to give all Congolese the chance to express themselves through the ballot.
“But I think the most important thing is our commitment to seeing everyone participate in the process,” said Kadima. “That’s why we extended to the second day to make sure that everyone was able to participate in the vote. It’s important to know that what we did was proof of our commitment to upholding democracy.”
The commission said the election results from voting within the Congo by its 44 million registered voters from Saturday would be published. The proclamation will be made province by province, and on December 31, the electoral commission will publish the provisional results in general.