The United States Department of State on Thursday issued its first post-poll statement on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s December 30 elections.
The statement in part hailed the Congolese people who braved all odds to kick start a process of actualizing the first peaceful transfer of political power in sub-Saharan Africa’s largest nation.
It also expressed misgivings about the National Independent Electoral Commission, CENI’s, actions in the lead up to, during and in the aftermath of the vote.
… millions of Congolese citizens turned out peacefully across DRC on election day to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. CENI must now ensure that these voices and votes are respected.
The statement cautioned CENI against result manipulation tasking it to ensure accurate reporting of the post-vote process. In a third part, it cautioned politicians who might want to subvert the will of the people by their actions.
It said despite issued afflicting the process: “… millions of Congolese citizens turned out peacefully across DRC on election day to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. CENI must now ensure that these voices and votes are respected.”
Already the powerful Catholic Church has reported that its tallies shows an outright winner of the polls.
Word of caution to CENI
We strongly urge the CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC’s 75,000 polling stations.
We support the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC’s expectation, expressed on January 2, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people.
Caution to rogue politicians and regime officials
As official results are tabulated and reported, we continue to urge DRC government officials, leaders of the DRC security forces, opposition party leaders, civil society representatives, and stakeholders from all sides to respect the law and reject violence.
There are moments in every nation’s history when individuals and political leaders step forward and do the right thing. This is one of those moments for the DRC.
Those who enable a peaceful, democratic transfer of power out of respect for DRC’s constitution and the results of this election will be hailed, while those responsible for undermining democratic institutions and processes, threatening the peace, security, or stability of DRC or benefiting from corruption will be held accountable.
Those who undermine the democratic process, threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in the United States and cut off from the U.S. financial system.
Message to history-chasing Congolese
The United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the polls across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections.
Since independence in 1960, the DRC has never experienced a peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The December 30 election was therefore one of the most important elections in DRC history.