African Union asks Congo to delay release of final poll result

The 55-member African Union (AU) has called on Congolese poll officials to delay the release of the final results of the recent elections amid reports of vote rigging and a back-room deal, agencies report.

The powerful bloc, which met at its headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, raised serious doubts on the provisional results announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission, above.

The AU’s request comes after Democratic Republic of Congo’s Catholic Church and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) questioned the results and demanded a recount.

The influential Catholic Church agreed with the election’s runner-up Martin Fayulu that the main opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi lost the elections but was declared the winner after he had a power-sharing deal with outgoing president, Joseph Kabila.

Tshisekedi denies this charge.

The AU said that in the light of mounting criticism against the poll outcome, heads of member states have called for the suspension of the proclamation of the final election results.

Welcoming AU’s stand, Fayulu said Congolese voters want truth and justice to prevail and a recount of votes could reveal the real victor.

The matter is being heard in the country’s top court.

Besides African blocs, international media have also backed the call for recount. They claim leaked voting data show Tshisekedi lost the Dec 30 elections.

Fayulu believes Tshisekedi and Kabila struck a power-sharing deal after the president’s candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary came third.

AU is sending a high-level delegation led by its chairperson, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, to DRC to help in resolving the electoral crisis facing the country.