Felix Tshisekedi called for national reconciliation while succeeding Joseph Kabila as Democratic Republic of Congo’s president, in a first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence.
“We want to build a strong Congo, turned toward its development in peace and security,” he said to thousands of supporters gathering on the lawn of the presidential palace. “A Congo for all, in which everyone has a place.”
The inaugural ceremony was briefly interrupted when Tshisekedi had a spell of dizziness during his inaugural address and had to sit down. However he returned to the podium moments after a brief pause, saying he was exhausted by the election and the emotion of the moment. Some media reported there was a problem of bulletproof vest, being fixed too tight.
Democratic Republic of Congo’s electoral commission declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of last month’s presidential election, but the runner-up contested the outcome as an “electoral coup”.
The result sets the stage for Congo’s first democratic transfer of power, however in a tense political standoff.
Tshisekedi won with 38.57% of more than 18 million ballots cast, Corneille Nangaa, the president of the election commission (CENI), told a news conference at 3 a.m. (0200 GMT) timed in the middle of the night to reduce street protests of frustrated losers.
Felix is son to late Étienne Tshisekedi the long-standing opposition leader, founder of the left-wing Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), the major opposition party. On 31 March 2018, Felix Tshisekedi was elected at the head of the UDPS, becoming a political heir of his father after his death.
AMENDED: The UDPS party thanked all the supporters and declared the victory of its candidate as “a victory for the Congolese people“.
AMENDMENT: The Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General of the United Nations:
“The Secretary-General calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms in line with the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Constitution and relevant electoral laws.
“The Secretary-General expresses the hope that the CENI, the Constitutional Court, the Government, political parties and civil society will each live up to their responsibility in preserving stability and upholding democratic practices in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
The US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo is warning the American citizens to leave the country, while Congolese officials prepare to announce election results.
The Embassy in Kinshasa posted an alert on January 9, which requested the Americans in Congo to draw departure plans that do not rely on US government assistance. It urged Americans to avoid large crowds and demonstrations, and continuously monitor local media for updates.
Congo‘s election commission has said it will announce results of the December 30th election at 11 p.m. local time on January, 9.
Envoys of a leading Congolese presidential candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, have met with incumbent President Joseph Kabila’s staff to ensure a peaceful transfer of power, Tshisekedi’s aids said.
President Kabila’s staff, however, denied that any such meetings had occurred since the December 30 election, for which provisional results are expected to be announced later this week.
The election is meant to bring about Congo’s first democratic transition in 59 years of independence, but tensions are mounting as some in the opposition leaders accuse the government of trying to rig the vote.
The United Nations Security Council is divided over the attitude toward Democratic Republic of Congo presidential elections, according to an leaked internal report quoted by Reuters.
“Tensions were mounting while the CENI tabulated the results, notably in light of posturing by parties and candidates,” Leila Zerrougui, head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Congo, told the meeting, according to the internal report.
The United States also condemned a lack of transparency in last Sunday’s contest, while China, a major investor, lauded orchestrated by Kabila process.
The election of a successor to President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the country of 80 million people since his father was assassinated in 2001, is conceived as a milestone first democratic transition of power since independence from Belgium in 1960.
But tensions have risen while observers reported a numerous irregularities that the opposition says is part of the ruling party’s effort to steal it.
The UN council 15 members “differed in their appreciation of the problems that beset the process and were divided over the question of whether the Council should issue a press statement,” the leaked report concluded.
The Council didn’t issue any joint statement, at least for now. It’s due to discuss Congo again in a public session January 15.
Preliminary results of the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo (RDC) will be delayed past Sunday’s deadline, the head of the election commission said. (Image: illustration).
Corneille Nangaa, the chair of the commission (CENI), notified that they had received half of the vote tally sheets before the weekend, subsequently the outcome of elections was not yet clear.
The Catholic Church, which fielded thousands of observers, declared on 3 of December there was a “clear winner”, however they did not announce the name. The incumbent President Joseph Kabila summoned the conference of bishops (CENCO) in an attempt to avoid any agitation in anticipation of the official results announcemet.
The Joseph Kabila government confirmed they are well aware, that the Catholic church had identified Mr. Fayulu as the winner. Kikaya Bin Karubi, a diplomatic adviser to the President Kabila, said in an interview on Friday that the governing coalition party was “aware” that the church had “chosen to publish the winning candidate as Martin Fayulu.”
Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi, a senior adviser to President Kabila, has already said internet and SMS services were cut to preserve public order after “fictitious results” began circulating on social media.
Donatien Nshole the secretary-general of the church’s bishops’ conference, known as Cenco, said its vote tallies showed a clear victor in election. “The announcement of voting trends by Priest Nshole is likely to brainwash the population while preparing an insurrection that Cenco alone will be responsible for” wrote in a letter to the priest the president of the election commission.
It was at the request of the bishops that the meeting took place this afternoon at the Palais de la Nation, seat of the presidency, in the commune of Gombe in Kinshasa. Representatives of the Catholic Church have warned the Congolese head of state against any attempt at a constitutional coup d’etat, vairous media claims, however, the meeting took place behind closed doors, and there is no record of the conversation released.