21 January 2019

Congo-Kinshasa: Defiant Fayulu Criticised As Shaky DRC Peace Threatened

Photo: Radio Okapi/Ph. John Bompengo
Félix Tshisekedi addresses the press at his party's headquarters

Kinshasa — THE Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Constitutional Court has proclaimed the final results of December 30 elections, despite claims the poll was rigged.

The court declared Felix Tshisekedi as the new president and turned down a request by pre-election favourite, Martin Fayulu's appeal for a recount.

Fayulu and the influential Catholic Church rejected the announcement by electoral authorities that the president-elect received 38,6 percent of the vote to 34,8 percent secured by Fayulu.

According to the court ruling, Fayulu failed to prove his assertions that he had won but based his argument on leaked data attributed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) .

The court ruling has intensified a deadlock between the political rivals.

Tshisekedi said the proclamation to declare him the seventh president of the former Zaire was a victory for the entire country.

"It is DRC that won," said Tshisekedi, speaking to his supporters after the court decision.

"It is not the victory of one camp against another. I am engaged in a campaign to reconcile all Congolese."

Tshisekedi pledged to rid the vast country of divisions.

"It will be a reconciled Congo; strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace and security," the incoming president said.

However, Fayulu has declared himself the DRC's only legitimate president and called on Congolese people to protest against what he called a constitutional coup.

Experts criticised the defiance by Fayulu as his stance destroys wobbly peace in the DRC and compromises the first democratic transfer of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.

In addition, experts strongly criticize Western interference in the elections amid accusations of attempting to influence the results in favor of Fayulu.

This follows speculation by some Western countries that Tshisekedi had struck an agreement with Kabila, who preferred a more 'lenient' opposition figure in power.

There is concern the deadlock could plunge DRC into further chaos as it currently battles rebel groups and the second-worst outbreak of Ebola in history.

The African Union Commission, which had also called for a recount, on Monday (today) postponed a mission by its delegation to Kinshasa.

"The commission calls on all concerned to work for the preservation of peace and stability and the promotion of national harmony in their country," it stated.

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