Op­po­si­tion leader pe­ti­tions court for elec­tion re­count

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - WORLD - By Saleh Mwanami­longo and Mathilde Bous­sion Saleh Mwanami­longo and Mathilde Bous­sion are As­so­ci­ated Press writ­ers.

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

He could be risk­ing more than a court 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 — keep­ing Pres­i­dent Joseph Ka­bila in power un­til an­other elec­tion.

“They call me the people’s soldier ... and I will not let the people down,” Fayulu said. The court fil­ing in­cludes ev­i­dence from wit­nesses at polling sta­tions across the coun­try, he said.

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 mak­ing a back­room deal with Ka­bila to win power in the min­eral-rich na­tion as the rul­ing party can­di­date 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.

Con­golese now face the ex­tra­or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion of a pres­i­den­tial vote al­legedly rigged in fa­vor of the op­po­si­tion. “This is more than an elec­toral farce; it’s a tragedy,” the LUCHA ac­tivist group tweeted.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.