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Woman in video assaulted for voting for DR Congo opposition candidate, not for announcing ‘fake and rigged’ election results

IN SHORT: Social media users are claiming that a viral video shows the chairperson of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s electoral commission being assaulted for announcing fake and rigged results. But this is not true. The woman is not the head of the commission and she was attacked because she voted for the opposition.

Warning: This article links to a video with violence and nudity.

A distressing video of a woman being stripped naked and repeatedly beaten by a large group of men is making the rounds online. Users claim that she’s the chair of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) electoral commission, and is being punished for announcing “fake and rigged results”.

The DRC, in central Africa, has a history of disputed elections. Its most recent polls opened on 20 December 2023. They were so chaotic that voting was extended for a second day and, in some areas, for more than a week.

The claim about the video began circulating on social media on 31 December, when the DRC’s Independent National Electoral Commission declared incumbent president Félix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential election.

It’s been posted mainly on social media in Nigeria, with comments about that country’s disputes over president Bola Tinubu’s 2023 election victory.

“DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) Election Commission Chair humiliated after announcing fake and rigged results,” reads a typical caption. “If INEC and Co was afraid of something even a little bit like this, our fortunes today will be much better.”

Inec is Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission.

The claim can also be seen here, here, here, here, here and here.

But is the woman being assaulted the chair of the DRC’s electoral commission?

DRCVideo_False

‘Stripped and beaten because she voted for Katumbi’

Reverse image searches of screenshots of the video led us to two posts on X (formerly Twitter) on 22 December.

Both said the woman was assaulted for voting for Moïse Katumbi, an opposition presidential candidate. The incident reportedly took place in the DRC’s Kasai province.

 

 

It’s also been mentioned in a New York Review of Books op-ed on the DRC poll, titled A Simulacrum of Elections. Describing the election chaos, author Nicolas Niarchos writes: “Videos circulated online showing soldiers firing at voters, polling stations ransacked, and a woman stripped of her clothes and beaten because she voted for Katumbi.”

More than this, the chair of the DRC’s elections commission is Denis Kadima, a man. The video first appeared online more than a week before the country’s election results – “fake and rigged” or not – were announced.

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