The votes have been counted and a winner declared, but uncertainty still lingers over the November 28 presidential election in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. While President Joseph Kabila began his new term in office December 20, opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi says he will swear himself in as president on December 23.
The United States is deeply disappointed by the decision of the DRC’s Supreme Court to uphold the electoral commission’s provisional results without fully reviewing the widespread reports of voting irregularities that concern opposition parties and independent national and international monitors. We believe that the management and technical execution of these elections was seriously flawed, lacked transparency and did not measure up to the democratic gains we have seen in recent African elections. It isn’t clear, however, that the problems were sufficient to change the election’s outcome.
Going forward, it is particularly important to determine what went wrong and get input from both Congolese authorities and outside experts to provide more credible results in future elections. We strongly urge all Congolese political leaders and their supporters to act responsibly, renounce violence and resolve any disagreements through peaceful, constructive means. In maintaining order during this tense time, security forces must also show restraint.
The United States continues to offer technical assistance, and we stand with the Congolese people in their quest for greater peace and democracy at home and throughout the region.