Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Tshisekedi supporters celebrate in Congo capital

Tshisekedi supporters celebrate in Congo capital

He was a vocal activist during the two-year delay in Congo's election, insisting it was time for Kabila to go.

Felix Tshisekedi, named as the surprise, provisional victor of last month's much delayed presidential vote, is the 55-year-old son of the country's most respected opposition leader.

Supporters of Congo's president-elect celebrated an unlikely win on Thursday, but the runner-up denounced a fix and France, Belgium and the Catholic Church all cast doubt on the results.

The other main opposition candidate, former oil executive Martin Fayulu came second, official results showed. He called the official result a "robbery" and asked supporters to "rise as one man to protect victory".

The influential Catholic Church notably said the result "does not correspond" with the data collected from polling stations and counting centres by its 40,000 election monitors, although it did not identify the person who it believes has won.

Martin Fayulu, an opposition candidate tipped by pollsters as the likely victor of the December 30 vote, told supporters: "We will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday..."

Vote tallies by Congo's Catholic Church had Favulu as the victor, according to two diplomats briefed on the findings.

Earlier Thursday Fayulu also expressed alarm at the results when he said an "electoral coup" had taken place.

Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian told French TV the announcement "did not conform" with other results, notably those produced by Congo's Catholic church which he described as totally different.

Fayulu, who once tweeted that "When the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn", was backed by two popular opposition figures barred from running, former Vice President Jean-Pierre Bemba and former governor Moise Katumbi.

DR Congo's powerful Catholic Church says election results tallied by its observers do not match official results announced on Thursday by the country's election commission, which named Felix Tshisekedi as the surprise victor.

Tshisekedi, who received 38 percent of the vote according to official results, had not been widely considered the leading candidate.

Martin Fayulu, Congolese joint opposition presidential candidate, speaks during a press conference in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 8, 2019. As Congo anxiously awaits the outcome of the presidential election, many in the capital say they are convinced that the opposition won and that the delay in announcing results is allowing manipulation in favour of the ruling party.

It was not clear whether Fayulu would dispute the election results in court.

Fayulu's bloc on Friday said he was the true victor, claiming he had garnered 61 percent of the vote.

South Africa, however, has been under pressure to be more outspoken on Congo amid tensions over the long-delayed vote.

Mineral-rich DRC has been in the grip of a two-year crisis over the succession of Kabila, who announced last year he would finally step down after almost two decades in power.

Defiantly, tens of thousands of voters held their own unofficial ballot on election day, and Fayulu won easily. "This is the beginning of national reconciliation".

The DRC has been in the grip of a two-year-old crisis over the succession of President Joseph Kabila, who said previous year he would step down after almost two decades in power.

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