The internet has been shut down in key cities in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the presidential election.
Counting is under way, but provisional results are not expected until January 6 2019.
President Joseph Kabila is stepping down after 17 years in office. He has promised DR Congo’s first orderly transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.
Internet connectivity in the vast central African state was already disrupted before voters headed to polls on Dec. 30, according to advocacy group NetBlocks, which maps internet freedom globally. A full blackout was also experienced in major cities, including the capital Kinshasa, after results started trickling in on Monday (Dec. 31), with outages impacting mobile and fixed-line connections.
According to AccessNow, the number of internet shutdowns is dramatically increasing around the world. There were 55 shutdown instances recorded in 2016, with 62 instances recorded in 2017.
Most of these took place in Asia, which had 53 recorded instances, primarily because of the shockingly high number of shutdowns in India and Pakistan, and Africa which had seven. it is especially common that states shut down the internet during the electioneering period.
The #KeepitOn campaign, convened by Access Now, consists of 141 organizations from 59 countries that are devoted to fighting internet shutdowns.