Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Catholic Church snubs DR Congo election result

Catholic Church snubs DR Congo election result

Political analysts said the government of President Joseph Kabila is likely to have chosen Mr. Tshisekedi as the weakest and most pliable of the opposition leaders after concluding that its own candidate could not win.

At least two people died in the melee, a local journalist and a United Nations source said.

However, runner-up Martin Fayulu, who is also an opposition candidate, has described it as an "electoral coup". He said the results were at odds with those of the church, which deployed more than 40000 people to observe the vote.

France, a major ally the country has expressed dissatisfaction over the results released earlier saying there needs to be clarity.

"We will never accept this nomination".

Burdened by a history of bloodshed, DRC has never had a peaceful handover of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

According to the National Electoral Commission (Ceni), Mr Tshisekedi received 38.5% of the vote in the 30 December election.

The candidate Kabila hand-picked to succeed him, loyalist former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, came third in the poll.

Elected in 2006, Joseph Kabila secured another term in controversial elections in 2011. At least four people were reported killed in demonstrations in one eastern city, although much of the rest of the country appeared calm.

There were celebrations in parts of Kinshasa and the south of the country where Tshisekedi has broad support.

Even as Tshisekedi and his supporters celebrate their victory, Fayulu was arguably the most important candidate in these elections.

"How long are we going to negotiate results?" he asked.

The election's supervisors had faced mounting pressure at home and overseas to publish the results of the December 30 poll after repeated delays stoked fears for the giant country's stability.

Abroad, the mood was watchful, marked by a noticeable lack of congratulations for Tshisekedi.

Pierre Englebert, a fellow at the Atlantic Council's Africa Center, said Tshisekedi would be more malleable and might allow Kabila's network to continue.

"It really seems that the declared results ... are not consistent with the true results", French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told a French television channel.

Foreign leaders reacted cautiously to the outcome of DR Congo's presidential election Thursday (10 January), with many choosing not to congratulate the man declared victor and appealing for disputes to be settled peacefully.

The church did not name anyone in its statement, and urged all parties to refrain from violence.

The President wishes to congratulate all parties and stakeholders in the DRC for ensuring peace and stability during the election processes and urge all regional and worldwide interested parties to refrain from speculation and allow CENI to complete the process. Shadary conceded following the announcement of the results.

The vast central African country has been increasingly on edge over the long-delayed vote.

Mineral-rich DRC has been in the grip of a two-year crisis over the succession of Kabila, who announced last year he would finally step down after almost two decades in power.

Happy Tshsekedi supporters in Kinshasa, a lively opposition stronghold, said they were delighted by their candidate's win and happy to see Mr Kabila step down.

"Instead, he chose to split the opposition by creating a power-sharing deal with Tshisekedi".

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