Published: Thu, January 10, 2019

Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight

Congo braces for election results after commission meets overnight

The Congolese capital of Kinshasa is reported relatively quiet early Thursday morning as the nation's electoral commission waited until the wee hours to declare opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the provisional victor of last month's long-delayed presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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

Tshisekedi, 55, hopes the elections will hand him the presidential prize that eluded his late father Etienne, who founded the DRC's mainstream opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), in 1982.

It will come as a shock to many observers who believed authorities would ensure that the government candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would be the victor in the polls, the third since the end of a bloody civil war in 2002.

Leading opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, a Kinshasa lawmaker and businessman, has urged the electoral commission to announce the true results as quickly as possible and warned it not to "play with fire, it is very risky".

Voting regulations prohibit anyone but the electoral commission from announcing results.

Members of the electoral commission met on Wednesday night and said results would be announced between 24 and 48 hours. Fayulu got 6.37 million ballots, while Shadary obtained 4.36 million, he said. Election observers had reported numerous irregularities. If confirmed, Tshisekedi will be the first opposition challenger to win since the Democratic Republic of Congo gained independence in 1960, BBC News reports.

Losing candidates can contest the results before the country's constitutional court.

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. Kabila has promised a peaceful transition of power.


"There's no spirit of revenge", said Tshisekedi. Opposition and activist groups had urged people to be ready to protest on the streets if the results didn't match "the truth of the ballot boxes".

An al-Jazeera journalist is circumspect about whether the results will be announced then.

Mr Nangaa, who has given no date for when provisional or final results would emerge, has said people need to be patient amid rising tensions over the delay.

Further pressure on CENI to reveal the election outcome came on Wednesday from South Africa and Zambia, DRC's neighbour to the south.

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

"Mr. Kabila is a Congolese citizen".

The vast, mineral-rich Central African country is choosing a successor to departing President Joseph Kabila, in power since 2001.

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.

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