The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday said there was a clear winner in the just held presidential election.
The church is therefore demanding the publication of truthful and accurate election results later this month by the electoral commission.
Congo’s crucial elections were held on December 30 but final are results due to be announced on January 15. The new president will be sworn in on January 18.
According to the Catholic bishops conference in DR Congo one candidate won the presidential election clearly. The bishops however did not mention the name of that candidate.
The church deployed thousands of observers during the elections and said in a report that it “observes that the figures in its possession from polling stations’ vote tallies reveal the choice of one candidate as president of the republic”.
The secretary-general of the group Donatien Nshole told reporters that “We call on the CENI … to publish, with all responsibility, the results of the election that respect truth and justice.”
The catholic church in Congo is among the most trusted institutions. 40 percent of the 80 million population are members of the church.
21 candidates contested the presidential elections but there are three key frontrunners.
The ruing coalition was represented by Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary who is a former interior minister. He was backed by outgoing President Joseph Kabila.
The major rival for Shadary is Martin Fayulu from an opposition coalition. Fayulu is a former oil executive and backed by several other opposition leaders hoping to defeat the ruling party.
The third contender is Felix Tshisekedi Tshilombo, the son of a late veteran opposition leader. He refused to back Fayulu after withdrawing from an agreement to back the opposition coalition candidate.
Elections observers verdict
Election observers from the African Union have already said the polls were relatively well managed. The African Union electoral observation mission said voting was also smooth to a large extent.
There were however poor ratings for how late polls opened at many polling stations across the country.
Voters were also said to have had insufficient education about the electronic voting machines used for the first time in the elections.
In a statement from the AU it said “In general, the polls took place in a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Nevertheless, isolated incidents and some shortcomings enamelled the conduct of the voting operations.”
The presidential election was expected to give the country a new President. That new president will take over from Joseph Kabila.
The elections took place without President Joseph Kabila. President Kabila took over as president from his father Laurent who was assassinated in 2001.
DR Congo’s government continues to restrict internet and SMS services in an attempt to stop speculation about election results.