Uhuru, Raila salute DRC's Felix Tshisekedi amid AU protest

Wednesday March 18 2020
Tshise supporters

Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, DR Congo's opposition politician declared winner of the presidential poll, sing and dance in Kinshasa ahead of the Constitutional Court's final decision on the results, January 19, 2019. PHOTO | JOHN WESSELS | AFP

By VIVERE NANDIEMO
By AFP

President Uhuru Kenyatta and African Union official Raila Odinga on Sunday congratulated Democratic Republic of Congo's president-elect Felix Tshisekedi, saying the people had spoken.

The result of the presidential vote that took place on December 30, 2018 has been disputed, with runner up Martin Fayulu citing massive irregularities and taking the matter to court.

However, the Constitutional Court upheld Mr Tshisekedi's victory and the swearing-in is expected to take place next week.

"Congratulations President-elect Tshisekedi on your victory in the recent general elections. Your victory is a portrayal of the confidence of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in your ideals, leadership and vision for the future," Mr Kenyatta tweeted.

Mr Odinga, the AU's High Representative for Infrastructure Development, said the DRC public had spoken and wished Mr Tshisekedi "the best as he embarks on the difficult task of putting the DRC on the path of democracy, unity and prosperity".

He added on Facebook, "Their choices were affirmed by the relevant institutions, namely the electoral commission and the Supreme Court."

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KABILA

Mr Odinga also had a word for outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

"I congratulate President Joseph Kabila for presiding over the very first peaceful transfer of power in the DRC since independence. Congo's success is Africa's success. Long Live Africa," Mr Odinga wrote.

The electoral commission earlier announced that Mr Tshisekedi got 38.5 percent of the vote, Mr Fayulu 34.7 percent and Emmanuel Shadary 23.8 percent.

Mr Fayulu alleged foul play, claiming Mr Tshisekedi made a power sharing deal with Mr Kabila.

The Catholic church, which is influential in the country, opposed Mr Tshisekedi's win alleging rigging.

Mr Fayulu has disagreed with the court's ruling and has called on his supporters to stage peaceful protests in the country.

AU PROTEST

Meanwhile, the AU cancelled a delegation to the DR Congo over the disputed presidential election after the court declared Mr Tshisekedi the victor, an AU source said Sunday.

At a summit on Thursday, AU leaders had cited "serious doubts" about the election figures and called for the final results to be delayed.

The European Union concurred with the AU assessment, a spokeswoman had said.

But the 16-nation Southern African Development Community congratulated Mr Tshisekedi, a long time opposition leader, on Sunday for being declared president-elect and called for a peaceful handover of power.

The AU mission to Kinshasa, to be led by AU chairman Paul Kagame, the Rwandan president, and AU Commission president Moussa Faki of Chad, had been set for Monday.