Random thoughts and facts

In no particular order:

1. Kamerhe officially challenged the election results at the Supreme Court in the name of the opposition. I don’t know what exactly his case is, or what it means that he submitted it for the entire opposition (Tshisekedi’s son Felix was with him when he submitted the claim). The Supreme Court has until Saturday to pass a verdict. They have the mandate to confirm the election outcome, or to invalidate all or part of the results. I’m not sure whether they can also say they need more time – given the number of irregularities, I don’t know how they could possibly pass judgement in four days. As has frequently been reported, 18 new judges were named to the Supreme Court just weeks before the elections, giving rise to accusations of bias toward the presidency.

2. As has been widely reported, the Catholic Cardinal Monsengwo has panned the elections, saying the results are “not conform to the truth or to justice.” In a radio interview, he also seems to be saying that he think Tshisekedi has won the elections. Shortly afterwards, however, the head of the protestant Church of Christ in the Congo, Marini Bodho, shot back: “These elections do conform to the truth and justice.” A battle of the men of the cloth; the elections might have an impact on state-church relations for some time. (Ngoy Mulunda was reported as reacting: I had expected nothing less from the Cardinal). Meanwhile, Amnesty International was forced to publicly dismiss a press statement released in its name endorsing the election results.

3. However, Ngoy Mulunda has now hit back, saying that the Carter Center did not have a comprehensive view of the results, as they were only present in 14,79% of voting stations.

4. There has been some talk about the vote par dérogation (h/t to Mwana Kin). This is the list of people who are allowed to vote outside of the districts where they registered. It is usually for state employees who have to travel for work, including the families of security personnel and election officials. This year it was incredibly high: over 3,5 million out of 18,9 million voters, almost 20% of voters. In 2006, the number of votes by derogation was denounced by observers, and it was only 6,6%. The reason this list is dangerous is that it eliminates one of the safeguards against fraud, namely checking the name of the voter against the list of voters provided to the polling station in advance. If, for example, someone had been able to obtain a fake voter card, as well as an official “ordre de mission” saying he had to travel during this period, she would be able to vote anywhere she wanted to.

In this case, my guess is that the flawed voter registers led to such huge listes des dérogations. Because of confusion in the run-up to the vote, many voters were not able to find the polling stations where they were supposed to vote. So the election commission decreed that voters could vote anywhere in the district where they had registered. But since election officials could not find their names on the voter registers, they were placed on the liste des dérogations, instead of the liste des omis as they should have been. In fact, I have not seen a liste des omis, leading me to wonder if they just merged the two.

4. A few other strange results that have popped up in recent days. How come the turnout rate for the remote province of Walikale, where voters had to walk long distances to get to polling stations, was 92%, while that of the rest of the province was 63%? In the same province, Kivu Confidential highlights the almost perfect scores that Kabila got in areas controlled by CNDP troops, averaging 96%. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, why did the territory of Kwamouth in Bandundu have a turnout of a measly 26%, in contrast to the 56% average for the province? None of these facts are proof of anything, just peculiarities worth looking into.

5. Missing results: In addition to the roughly 2,000 missing polling stations in Kinshasa, there are 156 mission stations in Kiri (Bandundu) and 122 in Mbuji-Mayi. The Carter Center said there may be over 1,000 polling station outside of Kinshasa that have not been counted. The number of voters per polling station varies, with most seeing between 300 and 500 voters.