While the Congo election result is now being disputed, it is easy to forget that controversial election results are quite common. There are now demonstrations around the world with a large one scheduled for Kinshasa. The current results show incumbent Kabila winning over challenger Tshisekedi by 49% to 32%, but Tshisekedi (by all accounts a loose cannon) has declared himself president, something Al Gore never did against George Bush despite being urged to do so by some Democrats. Things will get ugly in parts of Kinshasa, although there is no expectation of violence in the east.

Kabila poster

Kabila poster

The difficulty for the Congo Supreme Court is they are obliged to rule of the validity of the results by Tuesday (tomorrow) which leaves them no time to properly assess everything (ignoring the fact that Kabila appointed them all). A key factor on behalf of Kabila is that while fraud undoubtedly existed, his margin of victory is so big that someone would have to notice it. Yes, there was 101% voter turnout who voted 99% in favour of Kabila in his home province while the equivalent percentages in key Tshisekedi areas is around 60%. Yes, there are hundreds of ballot boxes missing from key Tshisekedi areas, but it doesn’t seem to add up to 17% of the vote (the total vote shortfall, 49% vs. 32%).

In Congo, the last five voters in a polling station are the ones who count the vote. Tshisekedi purposefully voted late so he could be a counter. By definition, it was his home poll, yet we heard that Kabila still received around 30% and Tshisekedi was happy with the local result. There will be objections, but I don’t see how Kabila will lose power.

Amsterdam is a beautiful city where we have had a great time. We’ll fly home tomorrow. No promises on timing, but we’ll try to promptly post pictures into earlier blog entries.

If you have any questions you’d like answered, post it as a comment on any blog entry and we’ll respond to the comment. Thanks for your interest!