The United States has urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to release accurate election results following Sunday’s controversial presidential vote, warning of possible sanctions against those who undermine democracy.
“On December 30, millions of Congolese went peacefully to the polls. Now is the time for the Independent National Election Commission to affirm that these votes were not cast in vain by ensuring the accurate reporting of election results,” State Department spokesperson Robert Palladino said in a Thursday statement.
Washington also said DRC authorities should stop blocking internet and media access.
On Wednesday government officials withdrew the press accreditation of French radio journalist Florence Morice from Radio France Internationale (RFI). The choking of RFI followed internet access being cut on Monday afternoon for an indefinite period on the orders of the government, according to internet operator Global.
“There are moments in every nation’s history when individuals and political leaders step forward and do the right thing. This is one of those moments for the DRC,” said Palladino.
“Those who undermine the democratic process, threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in the United States and cut off from the US financial system,” he said.
The election commission is set to unveil provisional results on Sunday, followed by definitive results on January 15.
Congolese citizens have waited a long time for free and fair elections.
Incumbent President Joseph Kabila had repeatedly refused to step down after 18-years in power and despite his official term in office ending in 2016 after his two-term constitutional limit was up.
Kabila took office ten days after the assassination of his father, former president Laurent Kabila in 2001. He was elected as president in 2006 and in 2011 was re-elected for a second term in 2011.
His clinging to power led to mass protests which were brutally quashed by DRC security forces with scores of lives lost.
– African News Agency (ANA)