The Democratic Republic of Congo on Monday began a tense wait for the results of a volatile presidential election which could see the first peaceful transfer of power in decades.
Sunday’s elections went ahead in “relative calm”, according to the country’s influential Catholic Bishop Council, after two years of delays in the notoriously unstable country.
But there were reports of clashes at polling stations in the restive eastern South Kivu province that claimed the lives of a police officer, an electoral official and two civilians.
While the vote could result in the first peaceful transition of leader since the country gained independence from Belgium in 1960, analysts warned the threat of upheaval was great — given organisational hitches and suspicion of President Joseph Kabila, who refused to quit in 2016 after his two-term limit expired.
The election’s credibility has been strained by delays and accusations that electronic voting machines would help to rig the result.
Kabila appeared on public television late Sunday to congratulate the Congolese for having voted “in peace and dignity”.
Catholic Church observers, who were present at 78 percent of polling stations, were due to report Monday on the ballot-counting process.