Southern African bloc calls for recount of election vote
An influential African bloc has urged the Democratic Republic of Congo to recount the votes of its chaotic presidential election, heaping pressure on Kinshasa to ensure the legitimacy of its next government and to avert widespread violent unrest.
The ballot on 30 December was supposed to mark the DRC’s first uncontested democratic transfer of power in 59 years of restive independence, and the beginning of a new era after 18 years of chaotic rule by President Joseph Kabila.
But irregularities, including faulty voting machines, poorly run polling stations and an Ebola outbreak in the country’s east, have overshadowed talk of democratic progress.
Yesterday’s intervention by the Southern African Development Community, which includes regional allies of the DRC such as Angola and South Africa, could push Mr Kabila to tackle the presidential runner-up’s accusations that the vote was rigged.
The second-place finisher, Martin Fayulu, believes that he won by a landslide and that the official winner, Felix Tshisekedi, struck a deal with Mr Kabila to be declared the victor. Mr Tshisekedi and Mr Kabila deny this.
Isolated post-election violence across the mineral-rich DRC has many fearing a return to the kind of civil unrest that has killed millions of people since the 1990s.
Felix Tshisekedi, the official winner, has been accused of corruption