Friday, 18 January, 2019

Congo-Kinshasa: Election Results - Congolese Organisation in South Africa Fears Chaos

A Congolese citizen casting his ballot using an electronic voting machine The Latest: US to citizens in Congo: 'Depart the country'
Melinda Barton | 10 January, 2019, 12:22

The Democratic Republic of Congo is set to see its first handover of power in 18 years after opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was Thursday named by election officials as the provisional victor of an historic presidential poll.

The election had been delayed for more than two years as many Congolese anxious that President Joseph Kabila would try to stay in power.

The son of Democratic Republic of Congo's veteran opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi has taken the prize that eluded his late father - the presidency.

The win confounds expectations that outgoing President Joseph Kabila's protege, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would become leader of the world's biggest cobalt producer.

The Tshisekedi's victory is deeply controversial as pre-election polls had given outspoken opposition frontrunner Martin Fayulu, a respected former business executive, a healthy lead.

The head of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Commission Électorale Nationale Indépendante: CENI), Corneille Nangaa, announced on 6 January that provisional results from the DRC's 30 December presidential, legislative, and provincial elections would not be announced that day (as scheduled).

They would be deployed if needed to protect U.S. citizens and diplomatic facilities in DR Congo's capital, Kinshasa, he said.

But vote tallies compiled by the DRC's Catholic Church found Fayulu had clearly won the election, two diplomats told Reuters news agency, raising the spectre of a standoff that many fear could lead to violence.

Congo's powerful Catholic Church has upped the stakes by saying it found a clear victor from data compiled by its 40,000 observers deployed to all polling stations.

Losing candidates, including Fayulu and Shadary, can contest the results before Congo's constitutional court, which has 10 days to hear and rule on any challenges. Kabila has promised a peaceful transition of power.

Fellow opposition candidate Fayulu who was backed by former Katanga governor Moise Katumbi - considered a traitor by Kabila - and ex-warlord and former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, has also sounded a conciliatory tone.

"There's no spirit of revenge", said Tshisekedi.

Congolese activist groups have urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if the commission does not publish results in accordance with "the truth of the ballot boxes".

A local observer group said it had witnessed "major" irregularities at counting stations.

The vast, mineral-rich Central African country is choosing a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001. The electoral commission on Sunday delayed it indefinitely.

The delayed results come after global pressure to announce an outcome that reflected the will of the people. As the electoral commission met this week, anti-riot police moved into place outside. She added, will the African Union "consider a power transfer "enough" or will they push for investigation and real result?" He was less visible in campaigning than Fayulu and did not make himself available to reporters after the vote.