A constitutional court of Congo on Sunday declared the leader of the main opposition party Felix Tshisekedi as the new president of the country alongside rejecting claims of fraud and rigging by the runner-up contestant Martin Fayulu, who promptly declared himself Congo’s “only legitimate president”.
Fayulu’s supporters have alleged that there has been an extraordinary backroom deal between Tshisekedi and outgoing president Joseph Kabila to rig votes in favour of the opposition.
According to Al-Jazeera news reports, however, the court said Fayulu has offered no proof or evidence to back his allegations and assertions against Tshisekedi that he won easily based on data leaked to the electoral commission.
Fayulu, meanwhile, urged his supporters to demonstrate a peaceful protest in the Congolese capital on the street, saying the constitutional court has announced a false election result. Fayulu was quoted as saying, “It is no secret … that you have elected me president.”
He added: “I consider myself the only legitimate president of the democratic republic of Congo. I call on the Congolese people not to recognize someone who would take on the role illegitimately, not to obey the orders coming from him.”
However, the court ruled out on Sunday and Tshisekedi claimed the poll results have secure victory for the country. While addressing media after court’s announcement, Tshisekedi said, “It is Congo that won.”
In his official statement, the new president said: “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 reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace, and security.”
Following the court ruling, the bloc, African Union, postponed a high-level delegations visit to Kinshasa scheduled on Monday aimed at discussing the crisis. The bloc has previously expressed “serious concerns” over the vote and also called for voting result to be delayed.
After the court confirmed Tshisekedi has won, several African leaders congratulated him. Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta took it to Twitter to praise and offer support to Tshisekedi, while South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged Congolese people to “move on to consolidate democracy and preserve peace, stability, and security of the country”.
Uhuru Kenyatta tweeted: “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.”
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.
— Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) January 20, 2019
Tanzanian President John Magufuli, in a post on Twitter, said that “I beseech you to maintain peace”