Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fraud Not Evident in Numbers

The disorganization and sheer chaos that reign at the counting stations are fueling suspicions of fraud, but ought to be dispelling them: How do you steal an election when you're this disorganized?

Aside from Kabila' strength in South Kivu and Orientale, there's nothing that really leaps out as suspicious in the results. Yes, Kabila swept voter-rich Katanga, but Tshisekedi nearly matched him vote-for-vote in the two Kasais.  In fact, Tshisekedi would beat Kabila if you don't count the four eastern provinces (the Kivus, Orientale, and Maniema). This leads, inevitably, to the what-if thought: Had Tshisekedi agreed to partner with Kamerhe, he might be selecting his cabinet members now.

Nor is there any compelling evidence of systemic vote suppression. Rates of turnout by province do not reflect any striking anomalies. (NB: My methodology is very rough; see footnote here for why this judgment is highly provisional.)

Percent of registered who voted
Bas Congo
Kasai Occidental
Kasai Orientale
North Kivu
Province Orientale
South Kivu

Kabila may yet try to pull some shenanigans in Kinshasa that will give Tshisekedi cause for complaint. But right now, this election--as chaotic, unfair, and episodically violent as it has been--does not look to have been stolen. Whether that will matter in the days and weeks ahead is anyone's guess.

1 comment:

  1. The main problem is the lack of transparency in the way the votes are being counted, hence the suspicion within the opposition. The best way for CENI to clear the air is to release information at a polling bureau level....and not after the final results are declared on December 17th. Even Tshisekedi couldn't dispute numbers compiled by CENI that match the ones his supporters have.
    If fraud allegations are substantiated, then a unique opposition would not have made any difference. It would just have made the fraud more blatant.
    In the Kasai provinces, Tshisekedi beats Kabila 5 to 1. In Katanga, Kabila beats Tshisekedi 10 to 1, which is unrealistic to me. Even if Congolese vote along tribal lines, this cannot explain that ratio because, contrary to Kasai, Katanga is more cosmopolitan (i.e. more tribally diverse with Kasaiens, autochtones and other tribes that historically moved to the province to benefit from its many opportunities); therefore I cannot understand such a strong showing from the incumbent. Again, the only way to clear the issue once and for all is to release a detailed compiling information that everybody can confront and confirm.