The people have voted (well, except Beni and Butembo residents) and the world is waiting for the results of the count.  This certainly brings to mind the famous idea of “It’s not the people who vote that count, it’s the people who count the votes.”

Unlike prior Congo elections, foreign vote observers were limited this time.  Still, concerns over voting irregularities have been relatively limited to date.

The Catholic church caused a stir when they announced that they know who won and that person clearly won.  It would be illegal to announce the winner in advance of the electoral commission announcing it, so the church seems to be giving a veiled warning that the vote should be accepted and not tampered with.  A clear winner, if it isn’t President Kabila favoured Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would be the best case scenario to limit concerns over voting fraud, especially given the voter disenfranchisement in three major cities including Beni and Butembo.  Violence will likely be extensive if Shadary is elected, although that is an unexpected scenario.  Martin Fayulu, a former oil executive or Felix Tshisekedi remain the front runners.

The church announcement seems contradictory to other claims in the media that barely a majority of votes have been counted so far.  Voting patterns vary widely across the country, so it is vital to know which areas have been counted and which have not.  The electoral commission last said that the results will be announced on Sunday January 6, 2019 but multiple reports are indicating that this will further delayed.

80 U.S. troops have been deployed to nearby, but not adjacent, Gabon.  That is seen as a precautionary move to protect the Kinshasa embassy if violence did erupt in the Congo capital.  Gabon, which is comparatively wealthy due to their extensive albeit declining off shore oil reserves, has good relations with the U.S.