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Saturday, 24th August, 2019
 
 
 
 Congo, Democratic Republic of The   ::   News
 
Govt orders Internet shut down after presidential vote
Jan 01, 2019
Source: Amarachukwu Akaigwe

The internet has been shut down in key cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo a day after the much-delayed presidential election.

Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu's campaign team accused the government of ordering the shut down to avoid broadcasting his "overwhelming victory" in Sunday's poll.

Telecoms minister Emery Okundji said he was unaware of the situation.

Observers have complained of widespread irregularities during the poll.

Counting is under way, but provisional results are not expected until January 6.

President Joseph Kabila is stepping down after 17 years in office. He has promised DR Congo's first orderly transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Mr Kabila is supporting his former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who is the ruling party's candidate.

The two main opposition candidates are Mr Fayulu, a former oil executive, and Felix Tshisekedi, the son of the late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi.

What do we know about the shutdown?

In the capital Kinshasa, the internet has not been working since the morning while it is also down in the key eastern cities of Goma and Lubumbashi, which are seen as opposition strongholds.

Internet provider Global said in text messages to customers that the government had ordered the shut down, AFP news agency reports.

A representative from the Vodacom mobile phone network also said that the government ordered them to shut the internet down, AFP reports.

The Roman Catholic Church's observer team reported more than 100 cases of election monitors being denied access to polling stations.

It added that around 20 percent of polling stations opened late, and there were reports of polling stations being moved at the last minute.

Another local observer group, Symocel, said some of its 20,000 agents were subjected to intimidation.

Many of those who cast their votes could not do so in secret, it added.

In a BBC interview Mr Fayulu accused the military of "pushing" voters in some areas to cast their ballots for Mr Shadary.

Mr Tshisekedi accused Mr Kabila's government of creating a "mess" on election day in order to trigger legal challenges that would help the president remain in power.

President Kabila has insisted the election was free and fair.

Mr Shadary told the BBC that he had won the poll because "I'm the only one who's been campaigning in each of the 25 provinces of the country".

Mr Kabila took over from his assassinated father Laurent in 2001, but he was barred from running for another term under the constitution.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
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