Ramaphosa 'takes note' of DRC's provisional vote results

Ramaphosa 'takes note' of DRC's provisional vote results

Ramaphosa 'takes note' of DRC's provisional vote results

Fayulu alleges that longtime President Joseph Kabila engineered a backroom deal with the largely untested Tshisekedi to thwart anti-corruption efforts in a country with staggering mineral wealth.

But a court challenge to the results could spin the country into chaos, observers warned.

Democratic Republic of Congo's electoral commission yesterday declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the victor of a disorganised and contentious December 30 presidential election.

Fayulu, who came second in the presidential poll behind Felix Tshisekedi, called the results fraudulent. He called on people to "rise as one man to protect victory". Anti-riot police are positioned outside.

Millions of Congolese remain mired in poverty. "Mr. Tshisekedi was named by Mr. Kabila and we can not accept a plot against the will of the people".

The constitutional court has 14 days to validate them.

"These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box".

Fayulu urged the Catholic Church to release the results from its team of 40,000 observers who recorded voting tallies posted at each of the polling centers.

There is also a rapidly developing story that the diploma in Marketing and Communications Tshisekedi may have submitted as a condition of his candidacy might not have existed.

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

Shadary was competing against two main opposition candidates, businessman Martin Fayulu and Felix Tshisekedi, the president of Congo's largest opposition party.

Tshisekedi, 55, is reported to have won seven million votes and Mr. Fayulu 6.4 million.

Kabila last year announced he would step down after 18 years in power and then hand-picked a loyalist, former interior minister Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, to be his party's candidate in the December 30 poll.

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

But pre-election studies had predicted an easy win for Martin Fayulu, another opposition candidate. "Tshisekedi, with his weaker network, looks like being the junior partner in his accommodation with the Kabila establishment".

Pierre Englebert of the African Arguments newsletter said analysis of survey data "suggests that the probability Tshisekedi could have scored 38 percent in a free election is less than 0.0000".

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Thursday that Belgium, Congo's former colonial ruler, would use its temporary UN Security Council seat to "find out what's going on". There was no immediate United States comment.

The announcement of an opposition win was a shock as many had expected the results to be stacked in Shadary's favour, prompting heavy worldwide pressure on Kinshasa to respect the wishes of the electorate.

A chaotic vote in the vast and volatile nation of 80 million people has raised fears of renewed violence and at least two people were killed in clashes at one town in the west. Tshisekedi won the election amid concerns of vote-rigging.

Congo's government cut internet service the day after the vote to prevent speculation on social media.

"They have stolen the Congolese people's victory and the people will never accept that".

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.

Tshisekedi inherited the leadership of his UDPS party when his father Etienne Tshisekedi died in 2017.

Gleeful Tshisekedi supporters who took to the streets in Kinshasa to celebrate said they were happy to see Kabila step down.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged all sides "to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms", his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

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