AU advises DRC political players to challenge Election Results through Peaceful means

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Mr Tshisekedi, leader of Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, the main opposition party, was yesterday declared surprise victor of the presidential elections with 38 per cent or more than seven million votes against the more than six million votes garnered by Engagement for Citizenship and Development party's Martin Fayulu who came in the second place while Mr Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, backed by President Joseph Kabila, came in third place with more than four million votes.

Although he holds a Belgian diploma in marketing and communication, his opponents point out that he has never held high office or had managerial experience.

"Felix Tshisekedi has been nominated by Mr Kabila to perpetrate the Kabila regime".

He took over from his assassinated father Laurent in 2001.

Felix Tshisekedi (right) and his running mate Vital Kamerhe campaign in Kinshasa, November 2018.

But Martin Fayulu alleged the results had been rigged, saying outgoing President Joseph Kabila made a backroom deal with Mr Tshisekedi.

The election should mark the first peaceful transfer of power since the DRC became independent 59 years ago.

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"How long are we going to negotiate results?" he asked. He said the results were at odds with those of the church, which deployed more than 40000 people to observe the vote.

The United Nations has warned against any resort to violence.

Washington said in a U.S. State Department statement it "takes note" of the results, but added it awaits "clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count".

Opposition fears that authorities would rig the vote in favor of Kabila's hand-picked candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, did not materialize as Shadary finished a distant third to Tshisekedi and Fayulu, with about 4.4 million votes.

"It really seems that the declared results. are not consistent with the true results", the minister told France's CNews channel.

Careful statements by the global community did not congratulate Tshisekedi, merely taking note of official results and urging peace and stability in a country with little of it. Observers appeared to be watching for the reactions of Fayulu's supporters.

Mr Tshisekedi, who received 38 per cent of the vote according to the electoral commission's results, had not been widely considered the leading candidate and is relatively untested.

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"The Congolese people will never accept such a fraud!"

Kabila has made no secret of his continuing political ambitions, which is one reason why so many analysts say Fayulu's claims that Tshisekedi has done a deal with the DRC's former ruler may be more than sour grapes.

By breaking away from the opposition coalition supporting Fayulu, Tshisekedi "positioned himself to bargain with the regime", Englebert wrote.

"Kabila will be able to influence Tshisekedi, who now owes his ascendancy to power to Kabila's control of the electoral commission".

"The result of the presidential election as published by CENI does not correspond with the data collected by our observer mission from polling stations and counting centres", said Father Donatien Nshole, spokesman for CENCO, which represents the country's Catholic bishops.

Tshilumbu praised Kabila, whose 18-year rule was marred by a controversial 2011 election, a violent crackdown on opposition supporters and allegations that he used his position to expand his family's business interests.

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