Sunday 20 January 2019
Electoral observers are sure that the presidential elections in the Congo have not gone well. In some parts of the country, elections have not even occurred due to civil unrest and Ebola. However, the Constitutional Court has now rejected allegations of electoral fraud.
Despite credible allegations of electoral fraud, the Constitutional Court in the Congo has rejected opposition complaints against the official outcome of the presidential elections. The candidate Félix Tshisekedi has won the presidential elections legally, said the Constitutional Court in Kinshasa.
The Congo is therefore facing a historic change of power: Tshisekedi will succeed President Joseph Kabila, who will leave office almost 18 years later. Tuesday will be the new president of the Central African state.
However, the defeated opposition candidate Martin Fayulu did not want to accept the result. All the Congolese in the country should defend themselves against the falsification of the election results and protest peacefully against the decision, Fayulu asked after the court decision. The citizens of the Congo and the international community should not accept Tshisekedi as the new president, Fayulu continued. If mass protests were to occur, violent clashes with the security forces can not be ruled out.
The African Union has "serious doubts"
Fayulu participated in the December 30th elections for a broad opposition alliance and started as a favorite. However, the court rejected its objections as unfounded. A new counting of votes was rejected by the judges. The court found no problem in the fact that the elections have not yet taken place because of Ebola riots and epidemics in some parts of the country. This excludes about 1.25 million out of 40 million eligible voters.
The Catholic Church of the Congo – probably the most influential institution in the country – had also stated that Thisekedi did not win, citing its approximately 40,000 election observers. On Thursday, in a special session, the African Union (AU) expressed "serious doubts" about the outcome of the presidential elections and called for a delay in the announcement of the final result.
Shortly before, an analysis of the secret data of polling stations, according to international media reports, had shown the falsification of results. The election won Fayulu with about 60 percent of the votes, not with Tshisekedi. He received just under 20% of the votes, reported Tuesday "Financial Times" and the French foreign media RFI and TV5.
Pact with the opposition?
The mandate of President Kabila had already ended at the end of 2016. He had the election but postponed several times. He was not allowed to request another term. For him Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary arrived, but landed in third place. Faced with his defeat, it is said that Kabila has concluded a pact with Tshisekedi in unconfirmed accusations. To prepare the way for the moderate opposition party to power, this should have promised not to proceed criminally against Kabila.
Until recently, the fifty-five Tshisekedi was better known as a son: his father Étienne has long been the leader of the opposition who asked Kabila Paroli. In 2017, the elderly Tshisekedi died at the age of 84. Now his son has the chance to realize his father's dream: stabilize the Congo and reduce poverty.
Millions on the run
There is a lot of work to do on Tshisekedi: despite the rich mineral deposits such as cobalt, copper and gold, the state is one of the poorest countries in the world. This is also due to many conflicts fueled by greed for goods. Millions of people are on the run.
A peaceful change of power at the head of the state would be a success for the Congo. Only a few years after independence from Belgium, in 1960, the dictator Mobuto Sese Seko took power. It was only during the great war of the Congo that the power of Mobuto trembled. The rebel leader Laurent-Désiré Kabila overthrew the dictator and appointed himself president in 1997. In 2001, he was killed by a bodyguard. His son Joseph, then twenty-nine, inherited power.