10 January 2019

Congo-Kinshasa: Anxiety Grips DRC As Opposition Leader Wins Election

Photo: MONUSCO/Alain Likota
Voters look for their names in the lists during Presidential and Legislative elections in in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (30 December 2018).

Kinshasa — TENSION that could plunge the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into further mayhem has engulfed the country after opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, was announced winner of the recent presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Tshisekedi (55) as victor of the 30 December poll with 38,57 percent of the vote, ahead of fellow opposition leader, Martin Fayulu, who ammassed 34,8 percent.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the handpicked successor of outgoing president, Joseph Kabila, had over 23 percent.

Fayulu, a frontrunner ahead of the poll, has rejected the result as an "electoral coup", amid indications his supporters would protest.

Suggestions by the influential Catholic Church that Fayulu was the clear winner are also feared to trigger strife.

Amnesty International warned a human rights crisis was looming and could force countless people to flee if protests turned violent.

"Authorities appear to be preparing to escalate a crackdown on protests, with many parts of the country under heavy military guard and many media outlets already shut down and muzzled," said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International regional director.

Police and non-uniformed intelligence officers have also erected check points around major cities.

In some regions, gatherings of three or more people have been outlawed.

The announcement of the poll result followed multiple delays.

Elections in the resource-rich but poor country were initially scheduled for 2016 but Kabila failed to arrange them.

DRC has not experienced a democratic transition of power since independence in 1960.

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