Democratic Republic of Congo: The winner of the Congolese elections is known, so what now?


from Pax Christi Flanders

17/1/19 - On January 10, 2019, the Congo Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) announced the winner of the long-awaited presidential elections that took place on December 30, 2018. The CENI proclaimed opposition figure Félix Tshisekedi (pictured right) as the new president of the DR Congo. This would be the first democratic change of power between two living presidents in the Congo. Normally speaking, the new president will take office on January 18, 2019, after confirmation of the election result.

The official election result was immediately contested by the other main opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who called it "electoral deception" and "an electoral coup". In the international community, France and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, among others, expressed doubts about the result.

This doubt is so great because unofficial, but apparently quite a number of reliable sources attributed a major electoral victory to Martin Fayulu shortly after the elections. The Catholic Church - which sent 40,000 observers to the electoral offices - already announced a clear winner on January 4 and called for the "real election results to be respected". The church never mentioned a name, but it was generally assumed that it would be Fayulu. The Congolese Bishops' Conference announced a few hours after the announcement of the winner that "the result of the presidential elections issued by CENI did not match the data it had collected."

Foreign observers assume that the appointment of opponent Tshisekedi is a compromise to which the Kabila regime is prepared, because his own candidate Emmanuel Shadary made a bad turn at the ballot box. Incidentally, prior to the announcement by the CENI, discussions took place between the Kabila camp and the Tshisekedi entourage.

In the coming days, it will be particularly important to see how the Congolese people will respond to the election committee's decision and the possible appointment of Félix Tshisekedi as president. The Congolese made their voices worthy, more than two years after the end of the term of incumbent President Kabila. Whether they can respond to the result in a dignified way is the question. Moreover, the results of the parliamentary and provincial elections also deserve attention. The 26 provinces assemble the senate, and its president is the leading leading figure of the country alongside the president. Joseph Kabila may no longer be a president, the chance that he is far from being sung is not inconceivable...

For more on the election, including interviews and articles by Pax Christi Flanders' Nadia Nsayi, click here.


Félix Tshisekedi, Democratic Republic of Congo, presidential election, Martin Fayulu, Pax Christi Flanders, Nadia Nsayi