Call for DRC vote recount

Former DRC's President Joseph Kabila.
Former DRC's President Joseph Kabila.
Image: REUTERS/Benoit Nyemba

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) should recount the votes of its contested presidential election the runner-up says was rigged, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said on Sunday.

The December 30 poll was supposed to mark Congo’s first uncontested democratic transfer of power in 59 years of restive independence and the beginning of a new era following 18 years of chaotic rule by President Joseph Kabila.

But runner-up Martin Fayulu claims that he in fact won by a landslide and that the official winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi, struck a deal with Kabila to be declared victor. Tshisekedi and Kabila deny it.

Congo’s Catholic Church has said that tallies compiled by its 40,000-strong monitoring team show a different winner from those announced by the electoral commission, without saying who this was.

Isolated post-election violence has many fearing a return to the kind of civil war unrest that has killed millions since the 1990s.

Meanwhile, SA international relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu has commended the DRC people for holding peaceful elections.

“The election was peaceful. “Consider that there were more than 600 political parties, 12‚000 candidates for the parliamentary election and quite a number of people also contesting the presidency‚” Sisulu said in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“The urgency for the people was that there must be an election in the DRC.

“President [Joseph] Kabila was urged from time to time to make sure there is an election.

“We wanted some certainty that he would not stand and finally he did commit that he was standing down.

“These are markers of how far we’ve gone in making sure that we as a region are able to protect the essence of a democracy.” –