Congo opposition cry foul over web-enabled voting machines

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Opposition candidates on this weekend’s presidential election in Democratic Republic of Congo demanded on Tuesday that the electoral board deactivate SIM playing cards in voting machines to forestall the digital transmission of outcomes.

Martin Fayulu, Congolese joint opposition presidential candidate speaks throughout a information convention in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, December 25, 2018. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The opposition are up in arms as a result of lively SIM playing cards may permit the electoral board (CENI) to tabulate the vote electronically, regardless of repeated assurances the outcomes can be based mostly available counts of paper print-outs from the machines.

Disputes concerning the largely untested machines have stoked tensions forward of Sunday’s long-anticipated election, which the CENI postponed from this previous weekend attributable to delays deploying voting supplies.

Seven opposition candidates, together with one of many favorites within the race, Martin Fayulu, referred to as on cell phone operators to deactivate the SIM playing cards, which the CENI earlier admitted had been fitted within the machines.

At a joint information convention, the group additionally demanded the CENI “send a letter to these operators ordering them to deactivate these cards”.

A CENI spokesperson couldn’t be instantly reached for remark.

On Monday, CENI president Corneille Nangaa acknowledged in an interview with France’s TV5 Monde that the machines had been fitted with SIM playing cards. But he insisted the machines would solely be related to the web after the outcomes had been introduced based mostly on a guide rely.

However, 4 diplomats, talking on situation of anonymity, informed Reuters that the CENI had knowledgeable them that it could announce partial outcomes inside days of the vote based mostly on digital transmissions.

The election, which is supposed to result in Congo’s first democratic transition, was initially scheduled for November 2016 to decide on a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who’s barred by time period limits from working after 18 years in energy.

But it was repeatedly delayed attributable to what authorities stated have been logistical challenges. Opposition leaders accused Kabila of making an attempt to cling to energy, and safety forces killed dozens within the protests that resulted.

Kabila is backing his former inside minister, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, in a area of 21 candidates, with Fayulu and one other opposition chief, Felix Tshisekedi, seen as his fundamental rivals.

Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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