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Some violence reported in Congo elections; the worst is yet to come

By November 30, 2011

Congo-Kinshasa (MNN) — The nation's fears of election violence in Democratic Republic of Congo went mostly unrealized during Monday's and yesterday's polling.

There have been reports of gunmen at polls. As many as five people may have died on Monday, but the outcome could have been far worse.

President of Grace Ministries Sam Vinton says there have been reports of some skirmishes, but nothing as significant as the events that often surround African presidential elections.

"There's been no violence in the immediate areas where most of our churches are located," remarks Vinton, who says churches are praising God for the relative peace.

Still, the peace that has been characteristic of the last few days may only last so long. Vinton says, "The problems may [arise] when they begin announcing the count of the votes."

Many have speculated about various coups and scenarios that may take place if Joseph Kabila is not reelected as president.

Vinton disagrees. He says it's unlikely that a new president will actually change the political climate of Congo. He doubts very much that any new president will change the situation for Christians.

That's good news in the long-term. Still, immediate election violence is expected, according to missionary correspondents in Congo, says Vinton.

"Right now there are only 3 of 11 candidates who have any hope of winning." Vinton explains that violence between supporters of those three candidates is especially likely when votes are counted.

When will the count happen? Vinton says, "They don't expect to hear anything until next Monday."

Election disputes could easily affect ministry. Fighting would cause medical facilities to shut down, keep people from work, and stop people from traveling where they need to go. Believers are praying for peace to continue regardless of the election results.

Vinton asks for prayer throughout the next week in particular. Pray that Christians would lead the way in peace, and that people may be able to see the Prince of Peace shining through them. Pray that Christians would be good examples of integrity and of Christ's love for all during this transition, whatever violence may come their way.

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