Millions of Congolese vote despite intimidation and violence

November 29, 2011

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(AP/Jerome Delay)
In Kinshasa, voters call attention to what they call poorly printed photocopies of election ballots.

Amidst burning ballot boxes and armed rebels, millions of Congolese headed to the polls yesterday to vote in presidential and parliamentary elections. This is only the second time in the country’s history that the entire nation has been able to vote and the first election organized by the government instead of the international community.

Despite its historic nature, yesterday's vote was extremely messy. Massive logistical chaos and violence ensued at polling stations around the country. There were reports of ballot stuffing, bribery and fraud.

In response, polling hours have been extended and voters are continuing to cast ballots today. The ballots themselves are 13 pages long, with voters choosing between some 18,000 candidates.

Kambale Musavuli, a native of the DRC, as well as spokesperson and student coordinator for pro-democracy group Friends of the Congo, explains the implications.

 

For more context on the elections, watch these videos:

Millions of voters headed to the polls despite rampant violence. Here's raw footage of the chaos:

 

There have been widespread reports of election fraud. Here's one from Al Jazeera: