‘Congo should re­count votes’

SADC says move would pro­vide re­as­sur­ance to all

The Witness - - NEWS -

JOHANNESBURG — Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo should re­count the votes of its con­tested pres­i­den­tial elec­tion that the run­ner-up says was rigged, the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) said yes­ter­day.

The De­cem­ber 30 poll was sup­posed to mark Congo’s first un­con­tested demo­cratic trans­fer of power in 59 years of restive in­de­pen­dence and the be­gin­ning of a new era fol­low­ing 18 years of chaotic rule by Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila.

But run­ner-up Martin Fayulu claims that he in fact won by a land­slide and that the of­fi­cial win­ner, op­po­si­tion leader Felix Tshisekedi, struck a deal with Ka­bila to be de­clared vic­tor. Tshisekedi and Ka­bila deny this.

Congo’s Catholic Church has said that tal­lies com­piled by its 40 000strong mon­i­tor­ing team show a dif­fer­ent win­ner to that an­nounced by the elec­toral com­mis­sion, with­out say­ing who.

Iso­lated post-elec­tion vi­o­lence across the mas­sive, min­eral-rich coun­try of 80 mil­lion peo­ple has many fear­ing a re­turn to the kind of civil-war un­rest that have killed mil­lions since the 1990s.

“A re­count would pro­vide the nec­es­sary re­as­sur­ance to both win­ners and losers,” SADC said in a state­ment.

SADC, which in­cludes old Ka­bila al­lies An­gola and South Africa, rec­om­mended a gov­ern­ment of na­tional unity in­clud­ing par­ties rep­re­sent­ing Ka­bila, Fayulu and Tshisekedi that could pro­mote peace.

“SADC draws the at­ten­tion of Con­golese politi­cians to sim­i­lar ar­range­ments that were very suc­cess­ful in South Africa, Zim­babwe and Kenya” that cre­ated the “nec­es­sary sta­bil­ity for durable peace”, the state­ment said.

The chances of this kind of unity in Congo ap­pear slim for now.

Fayulu, who is backed by bit­ter po­lit­i­cal ri­vals of Ka­bila, on Satur­day filed a for­mal elec­tion com­plaint with the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

— Reuters.

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