Stakeholders meet over DRC election results dispute

Dispute continues to raise fears of political crisis in the country
DRCongo Politics
Toussaint Ekombe (2R), lead advocate in the legal team of opposition politician Martin Fayulu, delivers a statement at the constitutional court in Kinshasa on January 15, 2019, for the opening of the hearing of an electoral petition filed by Fayulu, who petitioned the court to nullify Felix Tshisekedi’s victory in the December 30 presidential poll citing electoral fraud. – DR Congo’s Constitutional Court on January 15 began examining an appeal against presidential election results that gave victory to opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, in a packed, heavily guarded courtroom. Official results released on January 10 by the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) gave Tshisekedi 38.57 of the December 30 vote, against Fayulu’s 34.8 percent. (Photo by TONY KARUMBA / AFP)

Continental leaders will gather at the African Union in Ethiopia on Thursday to discuss the disputed election in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a spokesperson for the body said on Wednesday.

The DRC election commission last Thursday declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the December 30 vote with 38.57% of the tally against chief rival Martin Fayulu’s 34.8%.

Fayulu has appealed the result, saying it was an “electoral coup” forged in backroom dealings between Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001.

The dispute has raised fears that the country’s political crisis, which erupted two years ago when Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional term in office, could worsen.

The Thursday meeting at AU headquarters in Ethiopia was called by Rwandan President Paul Kagame, chairperson of the body, spokesperson Ebba Kalondo said.

“The initiative is part of the African-led efforts to assist the DRC political stakeholders and people to successfully conclude the electoral process,” she told AFP.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced his attendance on Twitter, though it remained unclear which other leaders would join him.

The summit comes as allegations of election fraud mount.

Congo has had two regional wars between 1996-97 and 1998-2003, and the last two presidential elections, in 2006 and 2011, were marked by bloody clashes.

Now the country’s top court has eight days from when opposition candidate Fayulu’s appeal was lodged on January 11 to render a verdict.


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