DRCongo's Felix Tshisekedi awaits confirmation of re-election

DRCongo's Felix Tshisekedi awaits confirmation of re-election

DRCongo's Felix Tshisekedi awaits confirmation of re-election

On Sunday, Felix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is scheduled to be declared the victor of the recent elections, which opposition leaders have already called a “sham.”

Tshisekedi won the one-round presidential election based on the partial results that have been made public thus far. The National Independent Electoral Commission (Ceni) will reveal provisional totals on Sunday afternoon.

Tshisekedi, sixty, is a candidate for a second five-year term and has held office since January 2019. By Saturday night, he had a 72 percent lead after 17.8 million ballots had been tabulated.

In second place with 18.9 percent was businessman and former governor of the southeast province of Katanga, Moise Katumbi.

Martin Fayulu — who says he was robbed of the last presidential election in 2018 — was next at 5.5 percent, and former prime minister Adolphe Muzito had 1.36 percent.

The 20 remaining candidates, including Denis Mukwege, who won a Nobel Peace Price for his work with female victims of wartime sexual violence, were all under one percent.

“We will never accept this sham of an election” and “organised fraud”, Fayulu said last week, as police prevented a protest against the results.

Tshisekedi’s vote tally “is way beyond all expectations,” said Tresor Kibangula, a political analyst at the Ebuteli research institute.

“His dynamic campaign worked” but his scores in some regions “raise questions about the impact of the irregularities that were observed”.

‘Numerous irregularities’

Some 44 million people out of the 100 million inhabitants of the huge country were registered to vote on December 20 for president, as well as for national and regional lawmakers and municipal councillors.

Initially scheduled for December 20, voting was officially extended by a day to account for problems, and continued for days afterwards in remote areas, according to observers.

One Catholic-Protestant observation mission said it “documented numerous cases of irregularities susceptible to have affected the integrity of the vote”.

About 15 embassies have called for “restraint” in the poor but mineral-rich country where post-election tensions have been common.

Authorities say they have taken steps to prevent unrest, especially in the mining areas of the south-east that are Katumbi’s stronghold.

They also stress that any electoral disputes must be presented to the Constitutional Court, which will announce the final results, expected January 10.

But opposition leaders say they have no confidence in the court, nor in Ceni, which they argue is subservient to the government.