DRC court declares Tshisekedi president

Kinshasa, Sunday

Democratic Republic of the  Congo’s top court Sunday declared Felix Tshisekedi president after disputed elections, outraging opponents who alleged a stitch-up as an African Union delegation prepared to head to the volatile country.

Announcing the final results of the much-delayed poll, the constitutional court threw out a legal challenge by runner-up Martin Fayulu. It declared Tshisekedi the winner, paving the way for him to take over from long-term leader Joseph Kabila.

In a rejoinder, Fayulu called on his supporters to organise non-violent protests “all over the country to defend its sovereignty”.

“With this ruling, the constitutional court has defied the Congolese people, the AU and the whole international community,” he said after the ruling.

AU chairman, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, is due in Kinshasa on Monday after the union and other international bodies voiced concern over the results.

Fayulu has described the outcome as an “electoral coup”. He has alleged that Tshisekedi promised to protect Kabila’s political and financial interests in return for helping ensure his victory.

Fayulu called on world powers to reject the results, declaring himself “the only legitimate president”. “I ask the international community not to recognise a power that has neither legitimacy nor legal standing to represent the Congolese people,” he said of Tshisekedi.

Tshisekedi’s victory was provisionally announced earlier this month by the Independent National Election Commission (CENI) but it was challenged both at home and abroad.

The constitutional court, which is made up of Kabila’s allies, said Fayulu failed to prove any inaccuracies in the figures, describing his call for a recount as “absurd”. The court went on to declare Tshisekedi as the “President…by simple majority”. The EU said “doubts remain” . 

The Financial Times and other foreign media have reported seeing documents that confirm Fayulu as the winner while the Roman Catholic Church, which says it deployed 40,000 observers to monitor the poll, has also dismissed the official outcome. -AFP

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