World reaction cautious to disputed DRCongo vote result

12 January, 2019, 08:57 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Martin Fayulu a former oil tycoon says authorities must announce results to avoid further tension. /COURTESY

Provisional results from the Democratic Republic of Congo's much-troubled election granted victory to opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.

Known to his friends as "Fatshi", he gained a Belgian diploma in marketing and communication and rose doggedly through the party ranks.

Local media have reported that secret meetings were recently held between Mr. Tshisekedi's campaign and the Kabila government. Joseph took over in 2001 when Laurent was assassinated.

On Thursday he was named by election officials as the provisional victor of an historic election in the country.

After the Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission declared Tshisekedi the victor, the runner-up Martin Fayulu dismissed the outcome as an "electoral coup".

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.

"How long are we going to negotiate results?" he asked.

However, the Church, which posted 40,000 election observers, says the result does not match its findings.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian demanded clarity on results "which are the opposite to what we expected".

Fayulu supporters say Kabila made a deal with Tshisekedi after Kabila's own hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, failed to gain enough support to be a credible victor.

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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.

Tshisekedi's camp has acknowledged contact with Kabila's representatives since the vote but said they were aimed at ensuring a peaceful transition and denied there had been any deal.

The Independent National Election Commission (CENI) gave Tshisekedi 38.57% of the vote, ahead of Fayulu with 34.8%.

While bishops stopped short of publishing their own results or saying who they believed was the true victor, they made clear it wasn't Tshisekedi, as declared by election commission CENI. He called on the Congolese people to "rise as one man to protect victory".

The chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission on Thursday stressed the need for all concerned stakeholders in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to consolidate democracy and to preserve peace following the release of interim results of the presidential election.

By breaking away from the opposition coalition supporting Fayulu, Tshisekedi "positioned himself to bargain with the regime", Englebert wrote.

The defeat of the government's candidate is seen as a step forward for democracy in Congo, but few analysts expect Mr. Kabila to hand over all of his powers voluntarily.

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.

Bloody clashes marred elections in 2006 and 2011, and two wars between 1996 and 2003, drawing in armies from around the region, claimed millions of lives.

He also said the result was "starkly at odds" with Cenco's parallel vote tabulation and, in a country of 80-million, where half the population are Catholic, Cenco's assessment that the outcome was rigged was likely to be widely accepted.

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