Congo run­ner-up Fayulu asks court for re­count of elec­tion

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - WORLD / NATION - BY MATHILDE BOUSSION AND SALEH MWANAMI­LONGO

KIN­SHASA, Congo — Congo’s pres­i­den­tial run­ner-up Martin Fayulu has asked the con­sti­tu­tional court to order a re­count in the dis­puted elec­tion, declar­ing Satur­day that “you can’t man­u­fac­ture re­sults be­hind closed doors.”

He could be risk­ing more than the court’s re­fusal. Congo’s elec­toral com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Corneille Nan­gaa has said there are only two op­tions: The of­fi­cial re­sults are ac­cepted or the vote is an­nulled — which would keep Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila in power un­til an­other elec­tion. The Dec. 30 one came after two years of de­lays.

“They call me the peo­ple’s soldier … and I will not let the peo­ple down,” Fayulu said. Ev­i­dence from wit­nesses at polling sta­tions across the coun­try is be­ing sub­mit­ted to the court, which is full of Ka­bila ap­pointees.

Ri­fle-car­ry­ing mem­bers of Ka­bila’s Repub­li­can Guard de­ployed out­side Fayulu’s home and the court ear­lier Satur­day. It was an at­tempt to stop him from fil­ing, Fayulu said while post­ing a video of them on Twit­ter: “The fear re­mains in their camp.”

Fayulu has ac­cused the declared win­ner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, of a back­room deal with Ka­bila to win power in the min­eral-rich na­tion as the rul­ing party can­di­date, Em­manuel Ra­mazani Shadary, did poorly.

The opposition coali­tion for Fayulu, a busi­ness­man vo­cal about clean­ing up wide­spread cor­rup­tion, has said he won 61 per­cent of the vote, cit­ing fig­ures compiled by the Catholic Church’s 40,000 elec­tion ob­servers across the vast Cen­tral African coun­try.

Those fig­ures show Tshieskedi re­ceived 18 per­cent, the coali­tion said.

The church, the rare au­thor­ity that many Con­golese find trust­wor­thy, has urged the elec­toral com­mis­sion to re­lease its de­tailed vote re­sults for pub­lic scru­tiny. The com­mis­sion has said Tshisekedi won with 38 per­cent while Fayulu re­ceived 34 per­cent.

Ear­lier on Satur­day, the com­mis­sion an­nounced that Ka­bila’s rul­ing coali­tion had won an ab­so­lute ma­jor­ity of national assembly seats. That ma­jor­ity, which will choose the prime min­is­ter and form the next gov­ern­ment, sharply re­duces the chances of dra­matic reforms un­der Tshisekedi.

AP PHOTO/JEROME DE­LAY

Con­golese po­lice of­fi­cers hold back mem­bers of the me­dia as Congo opposition can­di­date Martin Fayulu leaves the con­sti­tu­tion court in Kin­shasa, Congo, on Satur­day. The rul­ing coali­tion of Congo’s out­go­ing Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila won a large ma­jor­ity of national assembly seats, the elec­toral com­mis­sion an­nounced Satur­day, while the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion run­ner-up was poised to file a court chal­lenge al­leg­ing fraud.

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