Why are we waiting?
"I thought results were due out today?" my dad asked on Tuesday. "What's going on?"
It's true that the announcement of the results of the DRC elections were originally slated for the 6th December. But the huge challenge of getting materials to the polling stations meant that some opened late, and voting ran over three days rather than one in some parts of the country. Then there was the matter of getting the ballot boxes and records of events in each polling station back to the electoral commission so the votes from 63,000 stations could be compiled.
So it's not surprising that things have taken a little while. In the meantime, the electoral commission has gradually released results.
With 89% of the provisional results in, Kabila, the incumbent president, has 48% of the vote. His nearest rival, Etienne Tshisekedi, has 34%. Kabila has 2.4 million votes more than Tshisekedi, with around 1.7 million votes yet to be counted.
We should hear the final provisional tally some time today.
So what happens next?
Crucially, the results that have been announced so far have not been broken down polling station by polling station. Each polling station posted its vote count outside as soon as counting was over – scrutinised by political party and international observers. They also sent a copy of the count to the station where results were to be compiled, dispatched a second to the headquarters of the electoral commission, lodged another with the Supreme Court, and sent a fourth to their provincial election body. Only when the electoral commission releases the results by polling station will the public be able to verify whether the results they saw counted on the day are the same as the compiled results.
And that's what really matters – that ordinary Congolese have faith in the results.
So we continue to wait, and soon we'll see.