How credible is the Democratic Republic of Congo Presidential election result?

The presidential election result of the Democratic Republic of Congo has sparked up an outcry of “election coup” by the runner-up in the just concluded fiercely contested election. He has raised alarm of a stitched up power-sharing formula geared toward sidelining him from power.

The delayed election result released yesterday saw Felix Tshisekedi defeating his arch rival Martin Fayulu who has been the favourite in nearly all pre-election polls. What exactly when wrong at the poll? Was there a late change of decision by the electorates or the election result was rigged in favour of Felix Tshisekedi?

The credibility and legitimacy of the election result is very crucial to the Congolese citizens as this will mark a new journey as they tried to transit to democratic rule for the first time since their independent from Belgium in 1960.

Some of the election monitors has rejected the election results. For instance, the Catholic Church who was among the election monitors had stated that there is a wide variation between the election result and the data collected.

The Church has however not publicly declared who the winner was, but a critical review of the church data have shown a clear victory for Martin Fayulu over Felix Tshisekedi in line with the pre-election polls.

The French Foreign Minister, Yves Le Drian and their former colonial power, Belgium has expressed doubt of the credibility of the election result, referring to it as a direct opposite of what was expected.

In the words of the BBC’s African editor, Fergal Keane he stated that Tshisekedi is seen by many as the opposition candidate least objectionable to President Jospeh Kabila and that it is perhaps significant that neither Kabila nor his party have so far voiced any objection to the result. Which had resulted to allegations of a power-sharing deal between the government and Tshisekedi.

In the opinion of Jason Stearns, director of the Congo Research Group at the Center on International Cooperation, “The mistrust generated by the delayed announcement of results and the rumoured backroom dealing has turned what might have looked like a momentous victory for Congo’s biggest opposition party into a potentially explosive scenario”. How this explosive scenario is going to turn out in the next few days will have a lot to say about the journey of DR Congo to democratic rule.

According to a former oil tycoon, Fayulu, who rejected the election result, stated that Tshisekedi is been given a protégé victory the electoral commission and the ruling party. The stated that the people of DR Congo will never accept such a fraudulent election result stressing that Tshisekedi cannot get seven (7) million votes.

The executive director of the risk consultancy EXX Africa, Robert Besseling has accused Kabila of playing safe by deciding not to announce his government backed and preferred candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, but trying to create a division among the opposition parties by concocting a power sharing deal to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila’s control of the electoral commission.

Fergal Keane stated that for the Congolese to know that politics has entered a new era in their country, Tshisekedi has a task of challenging the strong hold Mr. Kabila has enjoyed over the army, security services and other key ministries.

But the major burning question on everybody’s lips remains; what the next step of Fayulu supporter will be. Since the release of the election results, Fayulu has been increasing hauling out rhetoric statements which could spark up some sort of violent protest by his supporters.

The African Union has called on all aggrieved parties to the election results to seek amicable resolutions to their grievances.  Different civil society groups and the Catholic Church has recognised the imminent danger involved in street protest and had called on all citizens to refrain from any form of street protests to avoid clashes with security forces which are reputed for heavy-handedness to such protests in the past.

How far are these warnings going to help in quelling the tension threatening DR Congo at the moment?

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