DRC Government Shuts Down Internet As Fear Of Voter Fraud Increase
The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo have announced they have cut off the country’s internet services, their reasoning to avert ‘popular uprising’ however critics are concerned this is a way of keeping the realities of the poll and any government interference quiet.
The opposition and western powers have called on the government to resolve internet access swiftly.
The vote took place on Sunday after over a year long delayed and saw both candidates announce their victory. Final results are expected on January 15 and the next head of state will be sworn in on January 18.
Kabila’s diplomatic adviser, Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi said the national security council had decided it was “imperative” to shut down the internet to allow the electoral commission to finish counting and compiling votes.
“There are people who have indoctrinated the public with false numbers about this election. This has laid the groundwork for a popular uprising,” he said Tuesday.
Internet operator Global said on Monday that web access had been cut for an indefinite period on government orders.
Several residents in the capital Kinshasa tried their luck at large hotels, where some internet could still be accessed.
Others headed to street markets to buy credit for services in the neighbouring Republic of Congo.
The authorities also cut mobile phone texting, according to service provider Vodacom.
Radio France Internationale said its broadcasts had been jammed since Monday evening. The station has carried extensive coverage of the election in the francophone country.
The European Union, United States, Canadian, and Swiss heads of mission in Kinshasa issued a joint statement Tuesday urging the government to restore internet access.
“We request that the government refrains from blocking means of communication, in particular access to the internet and the media,” said the statement.