DRC Constitutional Court Upholds Tshisekedi Legitimate President

DRC Constitutional Court Upholds Tshisekedi Legitimate President

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By Andrew Irumba and TheSpy Correspondent

The Constitutional Court in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has upheld the election of opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi as the country’s legitimately elected President in the December 30 2018 electoral process.

The country’s National Independent Electoral Commission declared Tshisekedi as the winner but fellow candidate Martin Fayulu protested the polls prompting him to go to court.

Fayulu was also supported by the Catholic Church in DRC who also contested the electoral body’s results announcing Tshesekedi as winner.

The court on Saturday evening rejected Fayulu’s appeal ruling and upheld Tshisekedi as the duly elected president.

“Felix Tshisekedi is the duly elected president for the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after Fayulu failed to prove the National Independent Electoral Commission had announced false results,” the court ruled.

The results announced earlier had indicated that Tshisekedi had received 38.5% of the vote whereas Fayulu came second with 34.7% and ruling coalition’s Emmanuel Shadary who was president Joseph Kabila’s blue eyed ‘boy’ managed to get a poultry 23.8% of the total votes.

The pronouncement by the country’s constitutional court means that Tshisekedi is now expected to be sworn in within 10 days.

This week, Congo government rebuked a request by the African Union (AU) to suspend announcement of final results over what they termed as “serious doubts”.

“The heads of state and attending the meeting concluded that there were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the votes cast. Accordingly, the AU called for the suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections,” the AU said Thursday.

However, on Friday, government spokesperson Lambert Mende said they cannot take lectures from anyone about what to do in their own country.

“I do not think anyone has the right to tell the court what to do. I am not under the impression (the AU) fully understands Congo’s judicial process,” Mende told journalists on Friday.

“No country in the world can accept that its judicial process be controlled by an (outside) organisation.”

The polls have been the first peaceful transition since independence.

The outgoing president, Joseph Kabila has been in power for 18 years since the assassination of his father by his own body guard, president Laurent Desire Kabila.

 ‘Constitutional coup d’etat’

Fayulu urged Congolese to take to the streets to peacefully protest what he called a “constitutional coup d’etat,” accusing the court of validating false results. “It’s no secret … that you have elected me president,” he said.

“I consider myself the only legitimate president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I call on the Congolese people not to recognise someone who would take on that role illegitimately, nor to obey the orders coming from him,” he said.

Neither Congolese nor the international community should recognise Tshisekedi, nor obey him, Fayulu added.

Businessman and candidate Martin Fayulu casting his own vote in DR Congo’s presidential elections on December 30. He has rejected Constitutional court ruling that he petitioned himself upholding his rival Tshesekedi.

However Tshisekedi said early on Sunday that the Constitutional Court’s decision confirming him as the winner of the presidential election was a victory for the entire country.

“It is Congo that won,” said Tshisekedi, speaking to his supporters after the court decision.

“It is not the victory of one camp against another. I am engaged in a campaign to reconcile all Congolese. … The Congo that we are going to form will not be a Congo of division, hatred or tribalism. It will be a reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace and security.”

The largely untested Tshisekedi, son of the late, charismatic opposition leader Etienne Tshesekedi, is set to be inaugurated on Tuesday. His supporters who had gathered outside the court cheered.

“It’s a shame that Mr Fayulu wants to stay isolated,” Tshisekedi’s spokesman, Vidiye Tshimanga, told The Associated Press. He said the two men once had been part of an opposition coalition demanding that Kabila steps down.

The new president will need everyone for the reconstruction of the country, Tshimanga said, as the Congolese people have “suffered a lot in recent years”.

Pierre Englebert, professor of international relations at Pomona College, told Al Jazeera that the decision of the court is not “surprising”.

“The court is widely understood as being populated with judges loyal to the president,” he said.

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