Congo’s Kabila wins but opposition leader declares himself president

President Joseph Kabila has won the Democratic Republic of Congo’s election, provisional results show.

He obtained 49% of the vote against 32% for veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, the election commission chief said.

Mr Tshisekedi has rejected the results and declared himself president, raising fears of violent protests

The announcement of results has been delayed since Tuesday, with election officials blaming logistical problems.

DR Congo is rich in minerals such as gold, diamond and coltan, which is used in mobile phones. But years of conflict and mismanagement mean it recently came bottom of a survey of living standards around the world.

Riot police are patrolling the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, seen as an opposition stronghold in this country which is still recovering from years of conflict in which some four million people died.

The BBC’s Noel Mwakugu says the mood in opposition districts of Kinshasa is quiet and sombre.

Many shops and stalls in the city’s markets have been closed for most of the week.

“The Independent National Electoral Commission certifies that candidate Kabila Kabange Joseph has obtained the simple majority of votes,” said election commission chief Daniel Ngoy Mulunda.

On Thursday, he said the results had been delayed again in order to “assure the credibility” of the numbers.

In the eastern city of Goma, people started to celebrate as soon as the results were announced on national TV and radio, reports the BBC’s Joshua Mmali in the city.

Mr Kabila enjoys greater popularity in eastern areas, where his origins lie and where he is credited with helping to end the war.

However, he is less popular in the west, partly because he is not fluent in the local Lingala language and because some see him as representing foreign interests.

Mr Tshisekedi dismissed the result as an “outright provocation to our people”.

“I consider myself from this day on as the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he said in a statement.

Referring to his supporters as “fighters”, he said: “I urge you to stick together as one man behind me to face the events that will follow.”

Amid fears of a violent reaction to the results, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court this week warned all sides that engaging in electoral violence would not be a ticket to power but a ticket to The Hague.

The results still have to be ratified by the supreme court.



Share this post