Congo moves on from Kabila, elects Opposition candidate as president

Congo took the first democratic step since its independence in 1960 by electing opposition presidential candidate Felix Tshisekedi, above, agencies reported citing the central African nation’s election commission on Thursday.

Tshisekedi’s victory comes as a surprise as the delay in announcing the results of the Dec 30 elections made voters suspect that the authorities would rig the results in favour of ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

According to the commission, Tshisekedi won 7 million votes while another opposition candidate Martin Fayulu emerged the runner-up with 6.3 million votes. Shadary managed to garner only 4.3 million votes.

Commenting on the election results, Tshisekedi said he would be the president of all Congolese and not just that of a party or a tribe.

In his home town Limete, people hailed him as a hero who ended the autocratic rule of Kabila.

Runner-up Fayulu questioned the “falsified” election results since voting was put off to March in three Opposition strongholds due to ebola outbreak and violence and more than a million voters would not be able to vote as the president-elect will be sworn in this month.

Fayulusaid the election results were unacceptable to him as it was based on falsehood.

Shadary is yet to comment on the results.

People in capital Kinshasa stayed at home on Wednesday as they anticipated more violence hours before the declaration of results.    

Now that the results are out, it remains to be seen whether Congo will embrace democracy or descend into another cycle of violence.

The US has deployed troops in neighbouring Gabon to protect its citizens and diplomats if violence erupts in Kinshasa.

In the meantime, France and Belgium have sought clarity on the election results.

Belgium’s Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said his country has some doubts on the poll results and the matter will be raise in the UN Security Council.