Observers question DR Congo results

12 January, 2019, 08:56 | Author: Lucy Floyd
  • The Latest: US to citizens in Congo: 'Depart the country'

Tshisekedi, 55, became the first opposition leader to win an election in the cobalt- and copper-rich country when electoral authorities on Thursday declared him the victor of a December 30 vote.

Mr Kabila appears to have negotiated with Mr Tshisekedi to prevent anti-corruption crusader Mr Fayulu from winning, diplomats and observers said.

He suggested that Mr. Tshisekedi may have been declared the victor as a result of a bargain with Mr. Kabila, perhaps because he has wavered in his opposition to the government in the past.

But his apparent victory was not without controversy, with opposition rival Martin Fayulu, who came a close second, denouncing the result as an "electoral coup".

The DRC has never known a peaceful transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960, and this election has been watched closely for any sign that the country could be thrust further into political chaos.

Tshisekedi, 55, hopes the elections will hand him the presidential prize that eluded his late father Etienne, who founded the DRC's mainstream opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), in 1982.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian dismissed Tshisekedi's victory as "not consistent" with the actual results, indicating that Fayulu had won.

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The United Nations has warned against any resort to violence.

Moussa Faki Mahamat took cognizance of the provisional results of the presidential election in the DRC, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, according to an AU statement.

After deploying tens of thousands of its own election observers, the powerful Catholic Church last week said it knew the outcome of the ballot and called on the authorities to reveal the result "in keeping with truth and justice".

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.

France, a major ally the country has expressed dissatisfaction over the results released earlier saying there needs to be clarity.

"We take note of the publication of provisional results for the presidential elections, which for the first time in our recent history, open the way to an alternative", said a statement from the Episcopal Conference of the Congo (CENCO), seen by RFI.

"The Congolese people will never accept such a fraud!"

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The announcement of an opposition win was a shock as many had expected the results to be stacked in Shadary's favour, prompting heavy worldwide pressure on Kinshasa to respect the wishes of the electorate.

In the run-up to the results, Tshisekedi said Kabila had nothing to fear should he come to power.

Two civilians and two policemen were killed Thursday and another 10 people injured when a protest erupted in the western city of Kikwit, a Fayulu stronghold, police said.

There is increasing tension in the country as many claim the results of the elections do not reflect the polling station and pre-election data.

According to the initial timetable set out by the CENI, the definitive results are due on January 15 with the swearing-in of the new president three days later.

Tshilumbu praised Kabila, whose 18-year rule was marred by a controversial 2011 election, a violent crackdown on opposition supporters and allegations that he used his position to expand his family's business interests.

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