A UN expert called Jan. 7 for the restoration of telecommunication services in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The internet continues to be shut down across the DRC in the wake of the Dec. 30 general elections. Authorities ordered closure of Internet and SMS services the day after the vote due to "fictitious results" circulating on social media. The results of the election have now been postponed and the shutdown extends past its original Jan. 6 end date. On that day, the head of the elections commission stated that just over half of the ballots have been counted. Both the opposition and ruling coalition said they were on track to win the election. Many citizens were not able to vote due to an Ebola outbreak, and the delay led to protests in the east of the country. The opposition has alleged irregularities and fraud, and there have been reports of militias forcing voters to vote for the ruling coalition. The election commission dismissed any problems as minor.
Disputed results in 2006 and 2011 have caused violence throughout the country. The country has not not undergone a peaceful transition of power since 1960 when it gained independence from Belgium.
David Kaye, the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, said, "A general network shutdown is in clear violation of international law and cannot be justified by any means." A 2016 Human Rights Council Resolution condemned measures to intentionally disrupt the online dissemination of information as a violation of international law.
From Jurist, Jan. 9. Used with permissin.
Photo via SoftPower
Outcry in DRC as Tshisekedi named winner
Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi has won DR Congo's presidential election, electoral officials say. The announcement, made overnight, sparked accusations of an "electoral coup" from runner-up Martin Fayulu. The Catholic Church said that the result did not match data collected by its election monitors. The ruling party, whose candidate finished third, has not yet contested the result, prompting allegations of a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi. (BBC News)
Felix is the son of the late Étienne Tshisekedi, a three-time prime minister of Zaire and longtime opposition leader.
Riots rock DRC
Police in the Democratic Republic of Congo on June 24 used tear-gas and water cannons on protesters in front of parliament who were rallying against a proposed law that would put prosecutors under the authority of the government instead of the courts.
A member of the People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) put forward the proposed law, which faces opposition from members of the Union for Democracy & Social Progress (UDPS).
The tension between the PPRD and UDPS has been ongoing, especially since the election of President Felix Tshisekedi, a member of the UDPS. However, Tshisekedi allegedly has a power-sharing deal with ex-President Joseph Kabila of the PPRD. Kabila’s allies control a majority of the seats in parliament and ministries. (Jurist)