The political landscape in Africa’s largest country could witness a historic moment when power changes hands through elections, for the first time in half a decade.
This is after the opposition candidates Felix Tshisekedi was declared provisional winner of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s tightly contested presidential vote.
But Tshisekedi’s victory has come under increased scrutiny after his party announced that it had entered a power sharing agreement with Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the representative of Kabila’s party, a day before the electoral body made the final announcement.
Al Jazeera reports that Tshisekedi was declared provisional winner with 38.57 percent of more than 18 million ballots cast. Corneille Nangaa, the President of the Election Commission (CENI), told a news conference.
According to the BBC, the provisional result puts Tshisekedi ahead of yet another rival opposition candidate Martin Fayulu who has denounced it as a fraud.
If confirmed, Tshisekedi will be the second Congolese leader to rise to power since the country attained its independence in 1960. Patrice Lumumba, was the country’s independence era Prime Minister, was toppled in a coup less than three months after independence in 1960. He was killed four months later.
Now Tshisekedi has to be confirmed by the country’s Constitutional Court in the next ten days to claim power.
D.R Congo’s current President Joseph Kabila was forced to step down by pressure particularly coming from the Catholic church.
Tshisekedi woos Kabila, to legitimize win
The BBC reported on Thursday, that Tshisekedi, the son of late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, told supporters at his Union for Democracy and Social Progress party headquarters in Kinshasa that Kabila is not longer his rival but rather a partner in democratic change.
“I pay tribute to President Joseph Kabila and today we should no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, a partner in democratic change in our country,” he said.
Tshisekedi’s victory has come under increased scrutiny after his party announced that it had entered a power sharing agreement with Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the representative of Kabila’s party, a day before the electoral body made the final announcement.
Tshisekedi’s closest rival Fayulu has dismissed the results.
“The Congolese people will never accept such a fraud,” he told the BBC, adding: “Felix Tshisekedi never got 7 million votes. Where did he get them from?”
France has supported Fayulu by stating that: “We must have clarity on these results, which are the opposite to what we expected,” according to France’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yves Le Drian.
Le Drian said the influential Catholic Church, which had 40,000 observers at the election, had found “completely different” results.
The contention of the result has already put Congo on a collision course, a situation that will be exacerbated by Congo’s fragile security situation.
Analysts say that Kabila’s decision is critical in determining whether the country gets a new chapter, due to his stronghold on the army and security forces.