SADC urges DR Congo unity govt, vote recount

DR Congo president

On Friday, the former oil executive said he didn't expect the result to be annulled but that the court would approve a recount.

Opposition rival Martin Fayulu, who came in a close second, has dismissed the result and announced he will challenge the outcome before the Constitutional Court.

He said he would challenge Corneille Nangaa, head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI), "to produce the tally reports from polling stations in front of witnesses" and Congolese and global observers.

However, Fayulu's campaign says it has tallies showing he won the election with 61 percent of the vote.

Fayulu has denounced the result as an "electoral coup" engineered by Kabila in which Tshisekedi was "totally complicit".

DR Congo's powerful Roman Catholic church also said the election board's provisional result "does not correspond" with data collected from polling stations by its 40,000 election monitors.

He has said that if Tshisekedi becomes president "he will be Mr. Kabila's stooge who will continue to pull the strings".

Candidates have 48 hours after the result to file any appeal, and the Constitutional Court has a week in which to deliberate. "But we have faith", said Fayulu.

A long-running political crisis erupted two years ago when Kabila refused to step down at the end of his constitutional term in office, sparking massive protests which were brutally repressed.

Polling day unfolded relatively peacefully, but suspicions over the count have deepened.

Worldwide reactions to the results have been guarded.

It said Mr. Lungu had spoken to the official victor, Mr. Tshisekedi, and other key Congolese leaders before issuing the statement.

Competing appeals in the dispute were pitched to the UN Security Council on Friday.

Speaking by videoconference to the UN Security Council on Friday, CENI chief Nangaa appealed for "the new authorities to be supported by the worldwide community".

But Russia and China said the United Nations should stay out of the dispute. "It would be risky not to support the democratic process in the DRC", he said.

He and other regional leaders felt the best way forward was a negotiated political settlement and a government of national unity, Mr Lungu said.

He therefore struck a deal with Tshisekedi, head of the country's oldest and biggest opposition party, according to this scenario.

In turn, Kabila - who has ruled the country with an iron fist since 2001 - was likely to seek immunity from prosecution and protection for his family's business assets.

On Sunday, Fayulu attended a Protestant church and told his supporters that "the people have decided and the will of the people will be realised". All three cities were opposition strongholds.

Five civilians died in the unrest, police said on Friday, updating an earlier toll of four dead and denying that two police officers were among the dead. A relay station of the national radio and television broadcaster, RTNC, was also ransacked, he added. He has called for a hand recount of the votes.

The move came as the pro-Kabila FCC coalition announced it had won a majority in legislative elections, which took place at the same time as last month's presidential poll.

Interim results show parties aligned to him have won the majority of seats in parliament, which will give him significant leverage over the next president.

The outgoing National Assembly, which took power in 2011, is now dominated by Kabila supporters who, even ahead of the announcement, were already claiming to have won a majority.

At stake is political stewardship of this notoriously unstable central African nation which has a population of some 80 million and covers an area the size of western Europe. After nearly two years of delay, the election was announced to be held on December 23, 2018.

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