Congo Opposition’s Fayulu to Challenge Vote Results in Court

(Bloomberg) -- Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Martin Fayulu will go to court to challenge results that showed he lost last month’s presidential election.

Fayulu claims official results showing rival opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi won the Dec. 30 poll were rigged and has urged his supporters to protest against them. Fayulu topped an opinion poll before the vote, and Western diplomats have said an observer mission run by the country’s influential Catholic Church found he comfortably garnered the most votes.

Congo Opposition’s Fayulu to Challenge Vote Results in Court

“We will introduce an appeal to the Constitutional Court,” Eve Bazaiba, a spokeswoman for Fayulu, said in a phone interview on Friday.
Congo is preparing for its first-ever transfer of power via the ballot box, bringing an end to President Joseph Kabila’s 18-year rule. The result, which the Constitutional Court has yet to validate, confounded expectations that Kabila’s protege, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, would win. Fayulu was the runner up, while Shadary came third, the electoral commission said.

Kabila Praise

Tshisekedi has praised Kabila for allowing a transition to happen and given indications he won’t pursue investigations of him or members of the current government.

Any court challenge has little prospect of success, said Claude Kabemba, director of the Johannesburg-based Southern Africa Resource Watch. Kabila in May appointed three new judges to the court, two of whom were well-known allies.

“The court is full of Kabila sympathizers and I don’t think Fayulu stands a chance,” Kabemba said by phone.

The National Episcopal Conference of the Congo said Thursday the electoral commission’s results “do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from polling and counting stations.” The conference deployed 40,000 observers to monitor voting.

Winning Tally

Fayulu told supporters in Kinshasa on Friday the results collected by his coalition’s own compilation center show he won 61 percent of the vote. Electoral commission tallies show he garnered 35 percent, compared with 39 percent for Tshisekedi and 24 percent for Shadary.

The declaration of Tshisekedi’s victory followed the sudden rapprochement between his coalition, known as the Camp for Change, or CACH, and Kabila’s Common Front for Congo, or FCC, with both suggesting they’d be prepared to share power. The prospect of that happening has become more likely because the FCC expects to win majorities in both chambers of parliament, Infrastructure Minister and FCC member Thomas Luhaka said in an interview.

“Collaboration between the FCC and CACH is unavoidable,” he said. “According to our information, the FCC will have a majority in the national Assembly and in the Senate.”

The electoral commission has yet to release the legislative-election results. The FCC expects to win the National Assembly with a minimum of 300 of the legislature’s 500 seats, Luhaka said.

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