KINSHASA, Congo - The chorus of voices calling into question the results from Congo's recent election is growing louder, and on Monday the country's influential clergy as well as the United Nations joined those who are now casting doubt on the victory of President Joseph Kabila.
Cardinal Laurent Monsengwo, head of the influential Catholic Church in Congo, broke his silence to voice his concern. The church, which had deployed the largest observation mission, had earlier refused to disclose results, saying its role was not political.
But on Monday, "after analyzing the results that were made public by the [election commission] this past Friday . . . we could not help but conclude that the results are not founded on truth or justice," Monsengwo said.
He said the church was willing to mediate the dispute between Kabila - who was declared winner of the election with 49 percent of the vote - and longtime opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, who received 32 percent of the votes out of 19 million.
Just 24 hours after the results were published, U.S. observers from the Atlanta-based Carter Center issued a statement saying that the vote lacked credibility.
David Pottie, a senior observer with the Carter Center, said it became clear that in Kabila's home province, voter turnout was impossibly high, including some districts where 100 percent of registered voters had cast ballots - an impossibility in this country where less than 2 percent of the roads are paved.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in Congo also issued a statement Monday voicing concern, saying that "significant irregularities" occurred and that "a rigorous review" should be undertaken.
Kabila, 40, in his first public comments since the start of the election, said Monday that there was no reason to doubt the validity of the country's election.
"The credibility of these elections cannot be put into doubt. Were there mistakes, errors? Definitely, like any other election" in the world.
"But does it put into doubt the credibility of the elections? I don't think so," Kabila said.
What happens next in the electoral standoff is unclear.