Internet Shut Down in Democratic Republic of Congo Continues
Here are some updates on the contested election
The internet has been down in the Democratic Republic of Congo for three days now following a controversial voting process.
This year, President Joseph Kabila will be stepping down from office after 18 years in power. The presidential race between the new candidates Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi has been filled with controversy from the fire that destroyed voting machines earlier on in the elections. Following that incidence, BBC reports that 1.26 million voters were excluded from the voting process because of the ebola outbreak and logistical reasons, 20% of polling stations opened late, and the military was reported to be intimidating voters.
On Monday, the internet was shut down as voting ended. According to a representative from vodacom, the government ordered service providers to shut down the internet. The internet was shut down in Kinshasa, Goma, and Lubumbashi and might be down until the results come out at the end of the week.
Commenting on why this internet shutdown was necessary, the senior adviser to President Kabila, Barnabé Kikaya bin Karubi said that the government wanted to stop any fake results from circulating and inciting unrest. "That could lead us straight toward chaos," he concluded.
Alongside an internet shutdown, text messaging has been difficult for most people and the censorship against the media has escalated. The signal for Radio France Internationale (R.F.I.), a news source that was tracking the election, is also down. On Monday, the government had banned the main correspondent for RFI Florence Morice from commenting on the election after accusing her of putting out fake results. The ongoing censorship has caused many people to doubt the credibility of the elections.
The results of the election are scheduled to be revealed on January 6.