President Joseph Kabila casts his vote in the DRC capital, Kinshasa. Picture: Jerome Delay/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Johannesburg - The authorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are clamping down on media and communications as vote counting continues following Sunday’s crucial presidential elections to see who will succeed incumbent President Joseph Kabila.

On Wednesday government officials withdrew the press accreditation of a French radio journalist Florence Morice from Radio France Internationale (RFI), the East African reported.

Morice was accused of “violating electoral law and the code of good conduct for foreign journalists covering the elections”.

Government spokesperson Lambert Mende, confirming that RFI’s broadcasts had been cut off in all of Congo’s cities, said that Kinshasa would not “let a radio station throw petrol on the flames at a time when we are waiting for the compilation of the provisional results".

RFI which has a very large audience in the DRC, a French-speaking country of about 80 million people, has been following the elections closely.

The radio station strongly protested the move saying its coverage had been impartial.

On Monday the government cut internet access for an indefinite period just before it silenced RFI, internet operator Global said.

The authorities also cut mobile phone texting, mobile phone service Vodacom said.

The much-heralded elections were long coming. Kabila had repeatedly refused to step down after 18-years in power and despite his official term in office ending in 2016 after his two-term constitutional limit was up.

He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila in 2001. He was elected president in 2006 and in 2011 was re-elected for a second term.

As Kabila clung to power amid mass protests, scores of lives were lost as DRC security forces brutally quashed his own people and the political opposition.

African News Agency/ANA