DR Congo pres­i­den­tial run­ner-up to launch for­mal fraud com­plaint

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Gi­u­lia Par­avicini

The run­ner-up in Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion pledged on Fri­day to launch a for­mal fraud com­plaint in a dis­pute many fear could reawaken vi­o­lence in a na­tion where mil­lions have died in civil wars since the 1990s.

Pre-elec­tion polls pre­dicted a land­slide win for op­po­si­tion can­di­date Martin Fayulu in a vote hoped to bring Congo’s first demo­cratic trans­fer of power in six decades of coups, dic­ta­tor­ships, as­sas­si­na­tions and con­flicts since in­de­pen­dence.

But in a sur­prise re­sult the busi­ness­man, backed by pow­er­ful ex­iled politi­cians and ex mili­tia lead­ers, lost out to an­other op­po­si­tion leader, Felix Tshisekedi, 55.

Fayulu’s sup­port­ers say au­thor­i­ties rigged the re­sult on be­half of Tshisekedi in a deal to pro­tect mem­bers of Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila’s out­go­ing ad­min­is­tra­tion and main­tain his in­flu­ence over se­cu­rity forces.

Fayulu told the BBC he would file a chal­lenge at Congo’s high­est court.

“We know that the Con­sti­tu­tional Court is com­posed by Ka­bila’s peo­ple, but we do not want to give any chance to Ka­bila and his team to say you didn’t fol­low the law. We want to do all that we can do to have the clean re­sult,” Fayulu said.

He has 48 hours to con­test the re­sults an­nounced in the early hours of Thurs­day.

Many Con­golese fear the dis­pute could re-start a cy­cle of un­rest. Around the vast na­tion of 80-mil­lion peo­ple there have been iso­lated in­ci­dents of post­elec­tion vi­o­lence.

Po­lice con­fronted op­po­si­tion pro­test­ers in eastern Goma city on Fri­day, killing at least one per­son, a wit­ness said.

The hugely in­flu­en­tial Catholic Church has re­jected the of­fi­cial re­sult based on tal­lies by its 40,000-strong ob­server team. France and for­mer colo­nial power Bel­gium also ex­pressed doubts. –

Pho­to­graph: CARO­LINE THIRION/AFP

THE WIN­NER: Felix Tshisekedi is sur­rounded by his wife, rel­a­tives and sup­port­ers

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