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What's next for the DRC ?

  • 21 Jan 2019

Despite the runner-up rival Martin Fayulu claiming a majority and the African Union asking the constitutional court to postpone the election results, Felix Tshisekedi is likely to be sworn in as DRC's new president in 10 days.

Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, center, leaves the Philadelphie Missionary Center after attending Sunday Mass in Kinshasa, Congo, Sunday January 13, 2019. ( AP )

The constitutional court declared on Sunday opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi as the winner of last month’s presidential election in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

After the constitutional court’s decision on the controversial election results, two African countries, Kenya and South Africa, congratulated Tshisekedi for winning the presidency.

However, Martin Fayulu, the runner-up rival, rejected the results, accusing the outgoing President Joseph Kabila of striking a "backroom deal" to rig the elections in favour of Tshisekedi.

Fayulu requested a recount of votes.

Fayulu also claimed the presidency and told his followers that “it's no secret ... that you have elected me president.” 

He also described the results as a "constitutional coup d'etat," accusing the court of validating false results and called his supporters to take to the streets peacefully. 

The African Union asked the constitutional court to postpone the election results, citing allegations of voter fraud, but the court paid no heed and declared Tshisekedi as the winner.

The constitutional court based its decision on Fayulu’s perceived failure to prove his claims of fraud and the backroom deal.

Now, Tshisekedi is expected to be inaugurated for the presidency in 10 days. It is expected to be the first orderly transfer of power in DRC since the country’s independence from Belgium in 1960.

Controversial presidential poll on December 30

DRC's election was supposed to take place in late 2016, but it was repeatedly postponed until December 30, 2018, as the officials cited logistical problems.

At least 900 people are believed to have been killed over three days in December in ethnic violence in northwestern DRC, the United Nations said on January 16, warning that the toll could be higher.

While the bloodshed was not directly related to the end-of-year election, a local activist told the Reuters news agency in December that tensions between the two ethnic groups had festered because Batende leaders were supporting the ruling coalition while Banunu leaders backed opposition candidates.

The electoral commission earlier announced Tshisekedi had won 38.5 percent of the vote while Fayulu received 34.7 percent.

But hope for a new era after 18 years of chaotic rule by President Joseph Kabila has faded in a welter of controversy.

Observers have warned that the court's upholding of the official results could lead to further unrest. At least 34 people have been killed since provisional results were released on January 10, the United Nations has said.

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