January 19, 2019, DRC Pulse
Election Results Now Declared Final
The Congolese constitutional court has rejected all appeals and confirmed provisional results declaring Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the presidential election. Those results were first announced January 9, 2019 by the Congo’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).
Elections were held on Dec. 30, 2018. It was a history day when the Congolese people cast votes in what was to be the first truly democratic election with hope of a peaceful transition of power since the country gained its independence from Belgium in 1960.
Initial Protest and Unrest Subsiding
Following CENI’s declaration, there were many protests from vocal groups who thought that another opposition leader, Martin Faluyu, would be and should be the rightful winner. Others thought Kabila’s hand picked successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary would win. Even the powerful Congolese Catholic Church voiced opposition On January 10, 2019.
…from the analysis of the elements observed by this mission, we find that the results of the presidential election … do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from the polling and counting stations….(McKenzie, Gigova, Marsh et al 2019)
Mixed reactions are still being seen following the announcement that Tshisekedi has won. Residents of the capital city Kinshasa were reported to be celebrating in the streets. But in the city of Goma, Fayulu supporters had to be dispersed by anti-riot police.
Tshisekedi represents the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party. As it now stands, Tshisekedi will become the 5th president of the Democratic republic of the Congo, succeeding President Joseph Kabila.
Tshisekedi’s family has a history of participating in politics in the Congo. His father, Etienne Tshisekedi founded the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party which has become the oldest and most powerful opposition party of the Congo. Felix Tshisekedi took over the party following his father’s death in 2017.
Moving Forward: A New Hope
It is hoped that protests will be replaced with new hope for democracy going forward. Despite early protests, the country’s bishops are urging everyone to show civic maturity and to avoid any violence.
McKenzie, D; Gigova, R; Marsh, J; et al, 2019: "Congo's Catholic Church rejects election results as opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi lands surprise win, Published January 10, 2019 by CNN and retrieved online January 19, 2019 from https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/09/africa/drc-election-felix-tshisekedi-intl/index.html