Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi wins DR Congo election

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2019

Scores of Congolese are dancing and cheering outside the electoral commission in the morning after opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the victor of the presidential election.

The DRC - a vast and poor country burdened by a history of bloodshed - has been in the grip of a two-year crisis over the succession of President Joseph Kabila, who said last year he would finally step down after almost two decades as leader.

VOA reports that Fayulu and ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary can contest the results before the country's constitutional court, which has 10 days to hear and rule on any challenges.

Tshisekedi, who received more than 7 million votes, had not been widely considered the leading candidate.

Polling at the end of last month was marred by allegations of vote-rigging. Fayulu, a former Exxon manager and Kinshasa lawmaker, accused the government of impeding his campaign by blocking flights and assaulting his supporters, which Kabila dismissed. Activist groups urged people to "be ready to massively take to the streets" if results don't match "the truth of the ballot boxes".

Tshisekedi, in an interview with Belgium's Le Soir newspaper, talked about Kabila's role in the DRC following the announcement of results.

The head of the electoral commission, Corneille Nangaa, earlier said that the results from a number of polling stations still needed to be counted. The New York Times cited a senior adviser to Kabila as saying the Catholic group believed Fayulu, rather than Tshisekedi, won comfortably. As Congo anxiously awaits the outcome of the presidential election, many in the capital say they are convinced that the opposition won and that the delay in announcing results is allowing manipulation in favor of the ruling party. The electoral commission on Sunday delayed it indefinitely.

Hopes rose on Wednesday that the Democratic Republic of Congo's election saga may have turned a corner after opposition leaders reached out to President Joseph Kabila.

Defiantly, tens of thousands of voters in one of the barred communities held their own ballot on election day.

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Since the December 30 vote, the government has cut internet service in this vast Central African country to prevent speculation on social media about who won and blocked some radio stations.

Congolese riot police take position around the electoral commission building at night in Kinshasa, Congo, Tuesday Jan. 8, 2019.

The pair had previously agreed that if they won, Kamerhe would become Tshisekedi's prime minister.

Many Congolese objected to Shadary, suspecting that Kabila would continue to rule from behind the scenes.

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

Some Congolese have said Tshisekedi lost support by splitting the opposition.

While Nshole acknowledged the difficulties in manually counting votes, especially in remote areas, he warned that the longer the election results are delayed, the more that suspicion will grow among the Congolese people.

"I deplore all the disorder", Tshisekedi said.

Other reports by GizPress

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