Wednesday 19 June 2019

Congo cuts internet 'to stop fake news on vote'

A man holds a bag containing voting materials at Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) tallying centre in Kinshasa. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner
A man holds a bag containing voting materials at Congo's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) tallying centre in Kinshasa. Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Stanis Bujakera and Fiston Mahamba

Democratic Republic of Congo's government cut internet connections and text messaging services across the country for a second straight day yesterday as the country nervously awaited results from the weekend's chaotic presidential election.

Both the opposition and ruling coalition said on Monday they were on track to win after a turbulent election day on Sunday in which many Congolese were unable to vote due to an Ebola outbreak, conflict and logistical problems.

Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi, a senior adviser to President Joseph Kabila, said internet and SMS services were cut to preserve public order after "fictitious results" began circulating on social media.

"That could lead us straight toward chaos," Mr Kikaya said, adding the connections would remain cut until the publication of complete results on Sunday.

The signal to Radio France Internationale (RFI), one of the most popular news sources in Congo, was also down, and the government withdrew the accreditation of RFI's main correspondent for having aired unofficial results.

Irish Independent

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