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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 11:36 GMT 12:36 UK
Congo town eager for poll result
By Noel Mwakugu
BBC News, Kisangani

Campaigners on truck in Kisangani
A lively campaign finished at the weekend

Kisangani has come back to life.

Yesterday it was almost a ghost city: the shops and the market were closed, and some of my new-found friends in the UN Mission in the Congo (Monuc) had to take tea without bread in the morning, as the oven at the only bakery had also been turned off.

Only the tolekas (motor and bicycle taxis), which yesterday were cashing in on the elections by ferrying voters to polling stations, are having a hard time today and are hungry for customers.

DR CONGO POLLS
Posters in Kinshasa
32 presidential candidates
9,709 parliamentary candidates
25.6m voters
50,000 polling stations
260,000 electoral staff

As I drive along with a colleague, a freelance reporter from a Belgian newspaper, we notice an interesting condom advert in that translates from French as "let's cultivate love not war".

As I look at the large numbers of jobless youth and the scale of poverty in Kisangani, and at the face of the deadly Aids pandemic, I just hope the boys and girls are taking it seriously.

In an environment of poverty and idleness like this one you can easily guess the extra-curricular activity.

At the Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) offices, there is a buzz of activity as results from all over the eastern region of DR Congo are expected to start trickling in today.

So far none has been posted, although many polling stations ended the counting exercise last night.

My guess is the clerks are taking a much-needed nap.

But the announcement by the national head of the CEI that the final presidential results will be out by August 20 has not gone down well.

People here want the next president to be in office sooner than that.

Click on the links below to read BBC reporters' logs from the election campaign




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