Op­po­si­tion can­di­date wins elec­tion in DRC

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD - By LUCIE MORANGI lucy­[email protected]­nadaily.com.cn

The Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo is about to wit­ness its first han­dover of power in 18 years, fol­low­ing the re­lease of elec­tion re­sults on Thursday.

Felix Tshisekedi, the leader of DRC’s old­est op­po­si­tion party, the Union of Democ­racy and So­cial Progress, was de­clared the win­ner in the hotly con­tested race.

Tshisekedi gar­nered 39 per­cent of the more than 18 mil­lion bal­lots cast on Dec 30. His clos­est ri­val has dis­puted the re­sult.

The an­nounce­ment was met with ju­bi­la­tion from his sup­port­ers and put an end to ten­sion brought about by re­peated elec­tion de­lays. On Wednesday, anti-riot po­lice had been de­ployed in the cap­i­tal, Kin­shasa, amid fear that a dis­puted re­sult could trig­ger vi­o­lence.

The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity also ex­erted pres­sure on the elec­toral board to an­nounce the pro­vin­cial re­sults with South Africa Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa and his Zam­bian coun­ter­part Edgar Lungu call­ing for ex­pe­di­ency to avoid desta­bi­liz­ing the coun­try.

Ac­cord­ing to CENI, the in­de­pen­dent elec­tion au­thor­ity, Tshisekedi won with 7 mil­lion votes against his clos­est ri­val Martin Fayulu with 6 mil­lion votes. Em­manuel Shadary, the pre­ferred can­di­date of out­go­ing pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila trailed third with 4 mil­lion votes.

Tak­ing to his twit­ter han­dle, Tshisekedi, who is the son of late veteran op­po­si­tion leader Eti­enne Tshisekedi, said a vic­tory for him is a vic­tory for the Con­golese peo­ple. “With the first peace­ful trans­fer of power in 60 years, we would like to thank sup­port­ers around the coun­try for stand­ing up for peace, democ­racy and for them­selves, their fam­i­lies and their fu­ture.”

Ad­here Cavince, a po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst based in Nairobi, Kenya, said the re­sults speaks of the strides the coun­try is mak­ing to­ward democ­racy. “Pres­i­den­tial elec­tions in Africa rarely have op­po­si­tion lead­ers as win­ners. This is a new nar­ra­tive.”

While he noted that these are in­terim re­sults and can still be chal­lenged, Cavince called on all in­volved to be ra­tio­nal and put the na­tional in­ter­ests first. “Re­gard­less of who the next pres­i­dent is, the new govern­ment must be united and build cred­i­ble struc­tures go­ing for­ward.”

Those dis­put­ing the re­sults have a right to protest, he said, but this should be done within the con­sti­tu­tional frame­work. “How­ever, we need to re­mem­ber that peace in the DRC is frag­ile and the coun­try has dis­in­te­grated into war twice due to po­lit­i­cal dis­putes. It is time to put an end to this cy­cle,” he said.

He ac­knowl­edged, how­ever, that re­peated de­lays in hold­ing the elec­tions and re­leas­ing the re­sults have blighted the process.

“Con­tra­dic­tory re­sults can eas­ily trig­ger vi­o­lence in the coun­try,” he said.

Her­man Many­ora, an­other po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst in Nairobi, said the world needs a peace­ful cen­tral African re­gion.


Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Union for Democ­racy and So­cial Progress party, who was an­nounced the win­ner of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, walks among his sup­port­ers in Kin­shasa, Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, on Thursday.

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