Regional leaders hold talks on DR Congo poll

Kinshasa, Wednesday

The presidents of South Africa and Zambia, Cyril Ramaphosa and Edgar Lungu, respectively, have held talks about the situation in the Democratic Republic Congo.

Their meeting came amid growing concern that unrest could erupt in DR Congo, following tightly contested presidential elections on December 30.

The electoral commission has been under pressure from the opposition and local observer groups to release the much-awaited results.

Opposition presidential candidate Martin Fayulu has warned election officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo not to “disguise the truth” as tensions mount over the delayed result.

Fayulu said the “Congolese people already know” the result of the vote. A local observer group said it had witnessed “major irregularities” at counting stations. President Joseph Kabila is due to step down after 18 years in office.

The election outcome was initially expected to be announced on Sunday. Anti-riot police have been deployed in the capital, Kinshasa, and access to the offices of the election commission has been blocked, reports the BBC’s Louise Dewast from the city.

The presidents urged the electoral commission to release the results fast to avoid suspicions and instability. South Africa is a key ally of Kabila, while Zambia hosts more than 60,000 refugees who have fled conflict in DR Congo.

Kabila has promised that the polls, which were supposed to have taken place two years ago, will be the mineral-rich central African state’s first orderly transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.                – BBC

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