One Candidate Clearly Won DRC Election, Catholic Church Says

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It called on election overseers "to publish the election results in keeping with truth and justice". "We are progressing well but we do not have everything done yet", said Corneille Nangaa on Saturday without specifying the exact date scheduled for publication.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opposition leaders are urging the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to ensure the decision made by Congolese voters in the December 30 poll is respected as a way of fostering democracy in the region.

Once the results at individual voting stations have been posted, they have to be compiled regionally and sent to the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI).

"We are surprised by the allegations of 'systematically violating legal provisions relating to the organisation of elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, '" wrote Marcel Utembi Tapa, president of the National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco).

"We have observed that the Congolese people have chosen a candidate as president of the republic", Donatien Nshole, secretary general of Cenco, told RFI's Sonia Rolley in an interview broadcast on Friday.

Meanwhile, Lamuka co-spokesperson Kamitatu said the tallies collected from almost all polling stations by Lamuka monitors clearly showed it was impossible that outgoing President Joseph Kabila's anointed successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary would win the election.

The government blocked Internet access and SMS services across the country, which the opposition claimed was proof of their fears that the results were being manipulated. It also said that 27 per cent of polling stations opened late and that 18 per cent had problems with malfunctioning electronic voting machines.

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The DRC has never had a peaceful transition of power; its first democratically elected leader, Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated in 1961, one year after the country gained independence from Belgium.

DR Congo's powerful Catholic Church, which deployed more than 40,000 observers to monitor the elections, on Thursday said it knew who had won the vote but did not reveal who it was. French U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told the media that the 15-member body - tasked with maintaining global peace and security - would "continue to monitor the electoral process in Congo".

The delay is because of the slow compilation of the results by electoral officials.

Men remove an electoral campaign banner of Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, former Congolese interior minister and presidential candidate, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan 2, 2019.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump announced he had ordered the US military to deploy soldiers to Gabon, one of nine countries which border the DRC, to protect US citizens and diplomatic facilities should violence break out.

Mr Royce said the United States could adopt new sanctions, under a Bill passed in November, against Congolese officials who have undermined the democratic process. According to the report, only the electoral commission is allowed to announce the victor.