Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Congo should recount presidential election vote-SADC

Congo should recount presidential election vote-SADC

Martin Fayulu, who came second in DR Congo's presidential election, has appealed to the Constitutional Court to annul the provisional result which awarded victory to his opposition rival Felix Tshisekedi, his lawyer said Saturday.

"You can't manufacture results behind closed doors", he told reporters on Saturday.

Democratic Republic of Congo has been in the grip of a two-year political crisis triggered by Kabila's refusal to step down when his two-term constitutional limit expired at the end of 2016.

Analyst Besseling said the outgoing president had gambled on a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi, who would now owe "his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission".

Opinion polls had flagged Fayulu as the clear favourite, although most observers predicted a result rigged in favour of Shadary.

The court now has eight days to consider the request.

Martin Fayulu, seen praying with his wife Esther ahead of the results announcement, has rejected the declared outcome of the vote.

"Between them, they didn't get more than 40 percent".

The result will undercut Tshisekedi's ability to deliver on campaign promises to make a break with the 18-year Kabila era and fuel suspicion that his victory, announced on Thursday, came through a backroom deal that will preserve Kabila's influence over important ministries and the security forces.

In a tweet before filing the complaint, Fayulu wrote that the election commission CENI's results "were invented out of whole cloth".

Fayulu told CNN that Republican Guard soldiers and police had earlier surrounded his house and intimidated supporters who planned to accompany him to the court in the capital, Kinshasa.

On Friday, the outcome of the tempestuous presidential election appeared to be headed for the courts after the poll's runner-up said he would demand a recount. Another 141 seats went to the opposition.

Global observers have been closely watching developments in sub-Saharan Africa's largest country, which covers an area equivalent to that of western Europe, with reactions to the election outcome guarded.

Addressing the Council by video conference, election chief Nangaa pleaded for "the new authorities to be supported by the worldwide community".

Several Western governments and the influential Roman Catholic Church in DR Congo have expressed surprise and concern at the declared results.

The runner-up in the December 30 election, opposition leader Martin Fayulu, has launched a legal challenge of the official results, arguing that the election was blatantly rigged to deny him victory.

In turn, Kabila - who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 2001 - was likely to seek immunity from prosecution and protection for his family's business assets.

Thousands of Tshisekedi's supporters celebrated in the streets throughout the DRC, while Fayulu's supporters rallied together in protest. "According to the police spokesman in Kinshasa, the reason for the heavy police presence was because the Constitutional Court is located in the heart of Kinshasa and the police didn't want any gathering of people close to the court and close to so many foreign embassies", explained Nicolon.

Congo's 80 million people have been largely peaceful since the vote, though the United Nations peacekeeping mission has reported at least a dozen deaths in protests in Kwilu province, with authorities noting demonstrations in Kisangani and Mbandaka cities.

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