Nearly 80% Of Kinshasa Vote Material Destroyed In Fire: Commission
Posted: Dec 17, 2018
Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP | Nearly 80 percent of the materials for staging the December 23 election in DR Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, were destroyed when an election warehouse was torched overnight, officials said Thursday.Election Material Manufacturers,
The blaze ripped through a large warehouse in central Kinshasa in the early hours of Thursday morning, destroying most of the election materials stored inside, including a large number of controversial touch-screen voting terminals.
"The fire consumed materials destined for 19 of Kinshasa’s 24 districts," said Corneille Nangaa, head of CENI, the Independent National Election Commission.
The city, which is also one of DR Congo’s 25 provinces, represents around 11 percent of the country’s 4.4 million registered voters.
Nangaa said the fire had destroyed "nearly 8,000 of the 10,368 voting terminals earmarked for Kinshasa" — around three-quarters of them.
But he insisted the vote would go ahead in the city.
The terminals have been a source of huge contention over the past year, with many opposition figures denouncing them as "cheating machines" which could be manipulated to fix the vote.
But the authorities insist the terminals will cut costs, prevent fraud and provide a faster tally.
Martin Fayulu, one of two leading opposition candidates running to replace President Joseph Kabila, has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the South Korean-made machines.
Fayulu initially threatened to quit the race if the devices were introduced for the vote, whereas his opposition rival Felix Tshisekedi has said he would run whether they were used or not.
- Blame game –
As the extent of the damage became clear, the FCC coalition, which backs Kabila, accused Fayulu of staging the fire at the CENI warehouse in order to sabotage the vote.
In a statement, the FCC accused him of calling on "his activists and supporters to destroy election material in order to prevent the electoral commission from organising the December 23 vote".
It described the fire was a "well planned" effort to obstruct the electoral process in a statement signed by the head of Kabila’s cabinet.
On December 23, just over 40 million voters will head to the polls to choose a successor to Kabila, who has ruled the country since 2001.
Twenty-one candidates are running to replace Kabila, whose hand-picked successor Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, is one of the front-runners.
At stake is the political stewardship of a mineral-rich country that has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960. Election Material Supplier
MOSCOW — A court in Ukraine has ruled that officials in the country violated the law by revealing, during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, details of suspected illegal payments to Paul Manafort.
In 2016, while Mr. Manafort was chairman of the Trump campaign, anti-corruption prosecutors in Ukraine disclosed that a pro-Russian political party had earmarked payments for Mr. Manafort from an illegal slush fund. Mr. Manafort resigned from the campaign a week later.
The court’s ruling that what the prosecutors did was illegal comes as the Ukrainian government, which is deeply reliant on the United States for financial and military aid, has sought to distance itself from matters related to the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential race.
Some of the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has dealt with Mr. Manafort’s decade of work in Ukraine advising the country’s Russia-aligned former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych, his party and the oligarchs behind it.
After President Trump’s victory, some politicians in Ukraine criticized the public release by prosecutors of the slush fund records, saying the move would complicate Ukraine’s relations with the Trump administration.
In Ukraine, investigations into the payments marked for Mr. Manafort were halted for a time and never led to indictments. Mr. Manafort’s conviction in the United States on financial fraud charges related to his work in Ukraine was not based on any known legal assistance from Ukraine.
Two Ukrainian members of Parliament had pressed for investigations into whether the prosecutors’ revelation of the payment records, which were first published in The New York Times, had violated Ukrainian laws that, in some cases, prohibit prosecutors from revealing evidence before a trial.
Both lawmakers asserted that if the release of the slush fund information broke the law, then it should be viewed as an illegal effort to influence the United States presidential election in favor of Hillary Clinton by damaging the Trump campaign.
Dummy Evm Machine Supplier, A sign for the Government of Canada's Communications Security Establishment (Cse) outside their headquarters in Ottawa. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press/File