Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Congo Court Clears Way for Tshisekedi to Be Next President

Delegation. President Museveni attends the high AU calls for suspension of announcement of DRC elections' final result
Patty Aguilar | 20 January, 2019, 12:46

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of Congo rejected a challenge to last month's presidential election results.

The court could confirm Mr Tshisekedi's victory, order a recount, or scrap the results altogether and call fresh elections.

By the time of going to press, the final results had not been released, but Gamal Ahmed Karrar, communications officer at the Directorate of Information and Communication in the African Union Commission, told The EastAfrican that the leaders had concluded that there were serious doubts about the provisional results announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) on January 10.

Martin Fayulu was the clear victor of the Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential elections last month, a Financial Times analysis of two separate collections of voting data shows, contradicting claims from authorities that rival contender Felix Tshisekedi had won the historic vote.

Accompanied by his wife and his lawyers, Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, right, petitions the constitutional court following his loss in the presidential elections in Kinshasa, Congo, on January 12, 2019.

Some 465 houses and buildings were burned down or pillaged, including two primary schools, a health centre, and the office of the country's independent electoral commission, the United Nations said.

Leaked data attributed to the commission shows that Fayulu easily won.

The person, who is close to Mr Fayulu's camp, asked for anonymity because the data contradict the electoral commission's official declaration. Neither side has acknowledged the accusations.

Upholding the results could spark violence in a country hoping for its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

According to the publication, their analysis of the two tallies "shows a near flawless correlation" of the official results and the church's partial results, supporting the church's stance that the results announced last week are not accurate.

However, Mr Fayulu had argued that Mr Tshisekedi had stuck a deal with Mr Kabila, who has been in office for 18 years.

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"We call upon the global community to respect the ongoing internal legal and political processes for the finalisation of the electoral process", SADC said in a statement, without mentioning the previous appeal for a broad-based government.

The court could have ordered a recount or ordered a new election.

However, most of the opposition to Kabila in the capital has been harnessed by the party of Tshisekedi, whose supporters are celebrating.

Neither the African Union nor other members of the worldwide community had publicly commented on the court's decision by Sunday morning.

The court said Tshisekedi won with more than 7 million votes, or 38 percent, and Fayulu received 34 percent.

It went on to declare "Felix Tshisekedi president of the Democratic Republic of Congo by simple majority".

Tshisekedi and Kabila's political parties refused to engage with leaked data from the election commission and the largest election observer mission, called Cenco, that showed Fayulu winning the December 30 election with around 60 percent of total votes.

With that perhaps in mind, Tshisekedi's party sharply rejected the AU's attempted intervention.

He called on the Congolese people to mobilise and defend the mineral-rich country's sovereignty.

Tshisekedi's supporters were celebrating the court decision in the streets of Kinshasa.

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