DR Congo reports Internet outages amid election vote counting

Dec. 31 (UPI) — The Democratic Republic of Congo reported Internet outages in some cities Monday as the country awaited the final results of Sunday’s presidential election.

Residents in the capital city of Kinshasa said most mobile Internet connections were down. Residents of the eastern city of Goma also experienced decreased Internet connection speeds or total outages a day after the delayed election to determine who will replace two-term President Joseph Kabila.

Some members of the opposition viewed the Internet outages as a tactic by the ruling party to suppress news of the election as candidates from both parties attempted to claim victory.

“We are seeing clear results in our favor throughout the country. Should the collection of regular results continue, there is very little doubt about the outcome of the election; the people have massively voted for change through me,” opposition front-runner Martin Fayulu told The Washington Post.

“The Internet was just shut down to stop the spread of the truth, just like in 2011,” he added, referring to when the government shutdown telecommunications in the aftermath of the 2011 elections. The government said the 2011 Internet shutdown was an effort to prevent the spread of fake results before the electoral commission made its official announcement.

Kikaya bin Karubi, an adviser to Kabila and a spokesman for the ruling party’s preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, said Sunday night “there is absolutely no way Shadary can lose.”

Congo’s election commission promised provisional results would be released Sunday, a week after the daylong elections.

Election Day was marked by delays due to rain and difficulties with the electric voting machines, which were used for the first time.

Additionally, three cities were prohibited from voting in the election at all until March due to violence and an outbreak of the Ebola virus in the area.

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