WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement expressing concerns about the political contest in the Democratic Republic of Congo resulting from the December 30, 2018 presidential elections.
“I congratulate the Congolese people who actively participated in the long overdue presidential elections at the end of last year, and admire their patience for official results. I join others with concerns about a lack of transparency throughout this electoral process, including the inexcusable disenfranchisement of over a million registered voters on election day and reports of the security forces’ excessive use of force against opposition supporters
“Unfortunately, the delay in announcing the outcome of the vote, reports that the official results are inconsistent with independent domestic poll observers’ findings, and President Joseph Kabila’s failure to leave office two years ago as constitutionally mandated, have all contributed to the appearance of political influence over the electoral commission and stoked fears that the current regime has manipulated the outcome.
“I hope that all parties resolve any disputes peacefully and urge the international community to continue pressing for a credible process, including advocating that any challenges to the outcome are transparent and adhere to the rule of law. I also encourage the Congolese people to continue to exercise restraint. A legitimate outcome with a peaceful transfer of power that the Congolese people support would be a major step forward in Congo’s democratic evolution, and would lay the groundwork for increased engagement with the United States.”