Published: Sun, January 13, 2019

SADC calls for DRC vote recount, proposes unity govt

SADC calls for DRC vote recount, proposes unity govt

Second-place finisher Martin Fayulu said that he in fact won by a landslide and that the official winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, struck a deal with Kabila to be declared the victor.

The commission announced those results early Saturday and results for the presidential campaign on Thursday.

"The request seeks the annulment of the result declaring Felix Tshisekedi president", Toussaint Ekombe told reporters outside the court.

Two days before polls were scheduled to take place, CENI dropped another bombshell: polls will be delayed by a week.

Supporters of the outgoing president won almost 350 seats in the 500-seat National Assembly, according to Communications Minister Lambert Mende.

Fayulu has called for a manual recount of the vote in all three of Congo's December 30 elections: presidential, legislative and provincial.

Opinion polls had indicated Fayulu was the clear favourite, although most observers predicted a result rigged in favour of Shadary. Congo's electoral commission says he received 34 per cent and Tshisekedi 38 per cent.

Speaking Friday by phone to Eddy Isango of VOA's French to Africa service, Fayulu said he will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday and ask judges to order the recount.

He has called for a hand recount of the votes.

At stake is political stewardship of this notoriously unstable central African nation which has a population of some 80 million and covers an area the size of western Europe.

Dozens of Fayulu supporters had gathered outside his residence in the capital, Kinshasa, to chant slogans against Mr Kabila and Mr Tshisekedi.

Explaining the appeal, the 62-year-old said election chief Corneille Nangaa had "broken electoral law" and that only a recount would establish the truth of what happened at the ballot box.

He said he would challenge Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI), "to produce the tally reports from polling stations in front of witnesses" and Congolese and worldwide observers.

Congo's influential Catholic bishops, who had the largest independent monitoring group with about 40,000 observers in voting stations on election day, have stated that Mr. Tshisekedi did not win the election, although they have not yet released their own data.

The pre-dawn announcement brought thousands of Tshisekedi supporters onto the streets in celebration, while others who had backed Fayulu came out to protest, with five killed in the resulting clashes with police. The Catholic observers are widely reported to have concluded that Mr. Fayulu was the victor.

Further west in the mining town of Kolwezi, clashes broke out between Fayulu and Tshisekedi supporters that resulted in a number of injuries and arrests, Okapi radio reported.

There remain 15 parliamentary seats up for grabs.

It means the next prime minister will be chosen from among forces loyal to Kabila.

Most leaders have issued statements appealing for any disputes to be resolved peacefully, but notably lacking any congratulations for Tshisekedi.

CENI chief Nangaa, speaking by video conference, pleaded for "the new authorities to be supported by the worldwide community".

The Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) also challenged the results published by CENI.

Fayulu says he won in a landslide in the December 30 ballot with more than 60 percent of votes and accuses Tshisekedi of striking a deal with Kabila to be declared the victor.

As a quid pro quo, some commentators suggested, Kabila would gain immunity from prosecution for his iron-fisted 18-year rule, and protection from assets seizure.

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