Congo rul­ing coali­tion wins leg­isla­tive ma­jor­ity, con­strain­ing pres­i­dent-elect

Stabroek News Sunday - - WORLD NEWS -

KINSHASA, (Reuters) - Out­go­ing Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila’s rul­ing coali­tion won a ma­jor­ity in leg­isla­tive elec­tions, a coali­tion of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day, de­spite op­po­si­tion leader Felix Tshisekedi’s win in the pres­i­den­tial vote the same day.

The re­sult will un­der­cut Tshisekedi’s abil­ity to de­liver on cam­paign prom­ises to make a break with the 18-year Ka­bila era and fuel sus­pi­cion that his vic­tory, an­nounced on Thurs­day, came through a back­room deal that will pre­serve Ka­bila’s in­flu­ence over im­por­tant min­istries and the se­cu­rity forces.

Ka­bila is due to step down in the com­ing days in what was meant to be Congo’s first demo­cratic trans­fer of power in 59 years of in­de­pen­dence. But he has sig­nalled he in­tends to re­main in­volved in pol­i­tics and might run for pres­i­dent in 2023 when term lim­its no longer ap­ply.

The run­ner-up in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Martin Fayulu, filed a fraud com­plaint yes­ter­day with Congo’s high­est court to chal­lenge the re­sult, a cam­paign spokes­woman, Eve Baza­iba, told Reuters.

Fayulu says he won in a land­slide in the Dec. 30 bal­lot with more than 60 per­cent of votes and ac­cuses Tshisekedi of strik­ing a deal with Ka­bila to be de­clared the win­ner.

Tshisekedi’s camp de­nies that there was any deal with Ka­bila and says meet­ings it held with the pres­i­dent’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives after the elec­tion were meant solely to en­sure a peace­ful trans­fer of power.

The dis­puted out­come threat­ens to reawaken vi­o­lence in the huge and tu­mul­tuous cen­tral African coun­try where mil­lions have died dur­ing civil wars since the 1990s.

In a tweet be­fore fil­ing the com­plaint, Fayulu wrote that the elec­tion com­mis­sion CENI’s re­sults “were in­vented out of whole cloth. I de­mand a hand re­count of all votes for the three elec­tions (pres­i­den­tial, na­tional leg­isla­tive and provin­cial)”.

The court has eight days to rule, but Fayulu has al­ready said he does not ex­pect a favourable judg­ment since the court is made up of Ka­bila ap­pointees.

Ear­lier in the day, about 50 Repub­li­can Guard sol­diers and po­lice of­fi­cers sur­rounded Fayulu’s res­i­dence, send­ing dozens of his sup­port­ers, who had been chant­ing against Ka­bila and Tshisekedi, flee­ing in­side, a Reuters wit­ness said.

Fayulu’s sup­port­ers have demon­strated in sev­eral cities since the re­sults were an­nounced. Protests in the western city of Kik­wit on Thurs­day turned vi­o­lent, killing at least four demon­stra­tors and two po­lice of­fi­cers.


The par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity re­tained by the hand­ful of par­ties in Ka­bila’s coali­tion will cur­tail Tshisekedi’s room for ma­noeu­vre. Un­der the con­sti­tu­tion, the ma­jor­ity

en­joys sig­nif­i­cant pow­ers and the pres­i­dent must ap­point his prime min­is­ter from its ranks.

The prime min­is­ter, in turn, must coun­ter­sign pres­i­den­tial or­ders ap­point­ing or dis­miss­ing mil­i­tary chiefs, judges and heads of state-owned en­ter­prises.

Adam Chalwe, a na­tional sec­re­tary for Ka­bila’s PPRD party, the big­gest within the FCC coali­tion, told Reuters that re­sults from the in­di­vid­ual races an­nounced by CENI yes­ter­day showed FCC can­di­dates tak­ing more than 300 out of 500 seats in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

Reuters was not im­me­di­ately able to con­firm that in­de­pen­dently.

Par­ties in the FCC coali­tion ac­counted for about 350 seats in the pre­vi­ous leg­is­la­ture.

The coali­tion’s pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Em­manuel Ra­mazani Shadary, fin­ished a dis­tant third with 24 per­cent of the vote. Pre-elec­tion polling had shown the FCC lag­ging be­hind op­po­si­tion par­ties in leg­isla­tive races.

Jean Jac­ques Mamba, a spokesman for the Move­ment for the Lib­er­a­tion of Congo (MLC) party that backs Fayulu and which polls had shown lead­ing the leg­isla­tive race, said it had won 22 seats, in­stead of the 40-50 it had ex­pected.

He ac­cused CENI of rig­ging the vote us­ing elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines. CENI of­fi­cials could not be im­me­di­ately reached for com­ment.

Martin Fayulu

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