By Our Reporter
Kinshasa, Congo: American President Donald Trump has deployed troops in Central African Republic (CAR) ahead of rising tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a presidential election was held last week.
More American troops
While Congo has been largely calm on and after the Dec. 30 vote, Trump’s letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said about 80 military personnel and “appropriate combat equipment” had deployed to nearby Gabon to support the security of U.S. citizens and staffers and diplomatic facilities. More will deploy as needed to Gabon, Congo or neighboring Republic of Congo, he wrote. This comes a few days after the U.S. ahead of the vote, ordered “non-emergency” government employees and family members to leave the country. Suspension and tension in the country escalated when the Catholic Church, an influential voice in the heavily Catholic nation, caused surprise on Thursday by announcing that data reported by its 40,000 election observers deployed in all polling stations show a clear winner. As regulations say only the electoral commission can announce election results, the church did not announce a name.
The electoral commission responded by saying the announcement could incite an “uprising.” In a letter to the commission on Saturday, seen by The Associated Press, the Catholic church dismissed the accusation that it acted illegally, saying its goal was to “make the electoral process credible” and stabilize the country. Congo’s ruling party, which backs Kabila’s preferred candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, called the church’s attitude “irresponsible and anarchist.”Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, a businessman and lawmaker, has accused Congolese authorities of impeding his campaign. His campaign manager, Pierre Lumbi, on Saturday accused the electoral commission of being “in the process of postponing the publication of the results.”
Joseph Kabila, who took office in 2001 after his father was assassinated, is barred from serving three consecutive terms but has hinted that he could run again in 2023, which has led many Congolese to suspect that he will rule from the shadows if Shadary takes office. Internet and text messaging services were cut off the day after the election in an apparent effort by the government to prevent social media speculation about the results.