Run­ner-up to file court chal­lenge


KIN­SHASA, Congo — Congo run­ner-up Martin Fayulu an­nounced on Fri­day he will file a court chal­lenge to the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion re­sults, while his op­po­si­tion coali­tion as­serted he ac­tu­ally re­ceived 61 per cent of the vote ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of the in­flu­en­tial Catholic Church’s ob­servers.

Fayulu spoke to hun­dreds of sup­port­ers who gath­ered in the cap­i­tal, Kin­shasa, to de­nounce what they called “the peo­ple’s stolen vic­tory.”

A heavy po­lice pres­ence was on hand. A busi­ness­man and vo­cal cam­paigner against Congo’s wide­spread cor­rup­tion, Fayulu ac­cuses out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila of mak­ing a back­room deal with the sur­prise de­clared win­ner, largely untested op­po­si­tion leader Felix Tshisekedi.

The Catholic Church, the rare au­thor­ity that many Con­golese find trust­wor­thy, has said its 40,000 elec­tion ob­servers in all polling sta­tions found a dif­fer­ent win­ner from the of­fi­cial re­sults but it has not given de­tails. Diplomats briefed on the find­ings say they found Fayulu won eas­ily.

The church’s find­ings showed Tshisekedi re­ceived just 18 per cent of the vote, just ahead of rul­ing party can­di­date Em­manuel Ra­mazani Shadary, Fayulu’s coali­tion as­serted.

Fayulu urged that Congo’s elec­toral com­mis­sion pub­lish de­tailed re­sults, polling sta­tion by polling sta­tion, and said he would file his court chal­lenge on Saturday morn­ing. He blew kisses to the crowd.

“Those who have been silly enough to pub­lish false re­sults, we will chal­lenge them,” he said.

Con­golese face the ex­tra­or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion of an elec­tion al­legedly rigged in favour of the op­po­si­tion after Ka­bila’s pre­ferred can­di­date, Shadary, did poorly in the polls.

The elec­toral com­mis­sion early Thurs­day an­nounced that Tshisekedi had won with 38 per cent of the vote while Fayulu re­ceived 34 per cent.

“Change can­not be ne­go­ti­ated be­hind closed doors and power only comes from the bal­lot, there is no other way,” said Fayulu sup­porter Jean Otaba, 28. “You can see there is no mas­sive cel­e­bra­tion de­spite the an­nounce­ment. That’s be­cause it is not the truth.”

This could be Congo’s first peace­ful, demo­cratic trans­fer of power since in­de­pen­dence in 1960, but ob­servers have warned that a court chal­lenge could spin the long-trou­bled coun­try into chaos.


De­feated Congo op­po­si­tion can­di­date Martin Fayulu greets sup­port­ers as he ar­rives at a rally in Kin­shasha, Congo, on Fri­day.

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