AU urges 'peaceful' resolution of DR Congo vote dispute

12 January, 2019, 00:48 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • Actor Ryan Gosling urges equitable trade in Congo minerals

It is unclear whether voting will ever be held in parts of Congo where the election was delayed - disenfranchising more than 1.2 million people - due to concerns about Ebola and violence.

Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was on Thursday declared victor of DR Congo's presidential election, but his victory was dismissed by the runner-up and questioned by the Catholic church, clouding the vote's legitimacy and hopes of peace.

"The National Independent Electoral Commission has announced provisional results, but we await clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count".

Fayulu, who has led anti-government demonstrations and is seen as far more hostile to the outgoing administration than opposition rival Tshisekedi, said Kabila had engineered an "electoral coup" to deny him the presidency.

The influential Catholic Church, which posted 40,000 election observers, said the result did not match its findings.

Just hours later, the Church said election results tallied by its 40,000 observers scattered across the country showed a different victor, without specifying who.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the results "are the opposite to what we expected". "In 2006, Jean-Pierre Bemba's victory was stolen".

The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to see its first handover of power in 18 years after opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was Thursday named by election officials as the provisional victor of an historic presidential poll.

Nangaa said Tshisekedi had received more than 7 million votes, compared to about 6.4 million for Fayulu and about 4.4 million for Kabila's hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.


Hopes rose on Wednesday that the Democratic Republic of Congo's election saga may have turned a corner after opposition leaders reached out to President Joseph Kabila.

The result is certain to fuel further suspicion that Tshisekedi, who the last opinion polls before the election showed was well behind Fayulu, struck a power-sharing pact with Kabila.

South Africa urged the DRC to quickly certify the results and move past the election, while the European Union seems nervous about either endorsing or challenging the outcome. The New York Times cited a senior adviser to Kabila as saying the Catholic group believed Fayulu, rather than Tshisekedi, won comfortably.

The government has cut internet service since the day after the election to prevent speculation on social media about who won, and blocked some radio stations.

Barnabe Kikaya Bin Karubi, one of Congolese President Joseph Kabila's top advisors, accepted on Thursday the loss of the ruling party's preferred candidate in a contentious election.

He is barred from serving three consecutive terms, but during more than two years of election delays many Congolese feared he'd find a way to stay in office. As the electoral commission met this week, anti-riot police moved into place outside.

Now Congo faces a new leader who is little known after spending many years in Belgium and standing behind his outspoken father. "This is the beginning of national reconciliation".

A father of five, Tshisekedi goes to the same Pentecostal church as Fayulu in Kinshasa, the capital.

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