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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 11:00am January 20, 2019,

Congo opposition leader Fayulu declares himself president as top court confirms Tshisekedi’s win

Martin Fayulu, who had come in second place in the contested poll, rejected the provisional results for the election released last week. Pic credit: BBC

Political tensions increased early Sunday when the constitutional court of the Democratic Republic of Congo confirmed Felix Tshisekedi’s presidential election victory, rejecting a challenge brought to it by the opposition.

Martin Fayulu, who had come in second place in the contested poll, rejected the provisional results for the election released last week, calling it an “electoral coup” that was forged by Tshisekedi and President Joseph Kabila.

But the country’s high court said that Fayulu’s challenge to his rival’s win was “inadmissible.” The court also turned away Fayulu’s request to carry out a recount of the December 30 vote and declared Tshisekedi “President of the Democratic Republic of Congo by simple majority.”

The verdict comes shortly after the African Union had asked Congo to delay announcing the final election results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote. The Union planned to send a high-level delegation Monday to find an amicable solution to the unrest that had greeted the country following the election. The government of DR Congo, however, said that it was up to the courts to decide.

Meanwhile, Fayulu has told the people of Congo not to recognise anyone who “illegitimately claims” to be president and has called for nationwide protests.

“The constitutional court has just confirmed that it serves a dictatorial regime … by validating false results, [and enabling] a constitutional coup d’etat,” he said in a statement.

“I ask the entire international community not to recognise a power that has neither legitimacy nor legal standing to represent the Congolese people,” he said of Tshisekedi, declaring himself “the only legitimate president”.

Congo opposition leader Fayulu declares himself president as top court confirms Tshisekedi’s win
Felix Tshisekedi is winner of presidential polls in DRC. Pic credit: France 24

Tshisekedi on Sunday said that the court’s decision confirming him as the winner was a victory for the entire country. Speaking to his supporters, he said: “It is Congo that won.”

“It is not the victory of one camp against another. I am engaged in a campaign to reconcile all Congolese … The Congo that we are going to form will not be a Congo of division, hatred or tribalism. It will be a reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace and security.”

The 22 years Kabila father and son presidential rule in the Democratic Republic of Congo came to an end after Tshisekedi was announced as the surprise winner of the December 30 presidential election in the central African country.

The result, that came as a shock to many observers, was announced early Thursday and was rejected by the rival leader, Faluyu, who was backed by many opposition groups and had led in polling ahead of the election.

According to the electoral body, Tshisekedi won with 38.57 per cent of more than 18 million ballots cast – more than seven million votes compared to Fayulu’s 6.4 million.

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, who was the government’s preferred candidate, came third with about 4.4 million votes.

The governing party accepted the results of the election, raising suspicions by many after reports that Tshisekedi’s team had held talks with that of incumbent leader, President Kabila. Tshisekedi’s outfit has since denied such claims.

Though there were pockets of celebrations on the streets of Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo, observers, including the Catholic Church were shocked over the development after they had predicted a victory for Fayulu.

France also complained about the figures, saying that it was not consistent with those collected on the grounds by monitors from the Catholic Church.

Kabila, who took over from his father in 2001, prepares to step down and usher in the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC.

Now confirmed by the country’s top court, Tshisekedi is the first opposition challenger to win since the country gained independence in 1960.

Who is Felix Tshisekedi?

The 55-year-old is the president of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress(UDPS), the largest opposition party in DRC. The party was founded by his father, Etienne Tshisekedi, who died in Brussels aged 84 in 2017.

Tshisekedi subsequently took over the leadership of the party. The political figure, with a diploma in marketing and communication, joined six other opposition leaders on November 11 to back a single unity candidate, Martin Fayulu, to challenge Shadary.

This did not go down well with the leadership of Tshisekedi’s party. Subsequently, Tshisekedi and his ally, Vital Kamerhe, pulled out of the deal. They ran on a joint ticket – a move that divided the opposition. Tshisekedi has said he would select Kamerhe as his prime minister if he wins the vote.

He has since vowed to be the president “of all Congolese” in the midst of tensions arising out of the election results.

Last Edited by:Nduta Waweru Updated: January 20, 2019


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