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Two men clamoured to have won the Presidential election of the Democratic Republic of the Congo held on December 30, 2018. Felix Tshisekedi with 38.7 percent of the votes had been declared provisional winner on January 10 by the country's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Two men clamoured to have won the Presidential election of the Democratic Republic of the Congo held on December 30, 2018. Felix Tshisekedi with 38.7 percent of the votes had been declared provisional winner on January 10 by the country's Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI).

Martin Fayulu with 34.8 percent of the votes was runner-up, but he rejected the result. Leading a coalition of opposition political parties, he took the matter to the Constitutional Court.
On January 20, the court handed down its decision. It affirmed Mr. Tshisekedi's victory and dismissed Mr. Fayulu's claim as “unfounded”. Having failed to prove any inaccuracy in the electoral commission's figures, Fayulu's call for a recount, the court said, was “absurd”. Only CENI had produced authentic and sincere results.
But Fayulu insisted that the verdict was an “electoral coup” and urged the world to reject it and declared himself “the only legitimate president”.
Two sets of data supported Fayulu's claims. Analysis by the Financial Times (UK) alongside the Congo Research Group (New York) using data from 86 percent of the votes saw Fayulu win 59.4 percent to Tshisekedi's 18.55 percent. A second set of data from the National Episcopalian Conference of the Congo in which 40,000 observers used the results from 35,000 polling stations. Fayulu scored 62.8 percent Tshisekedi's 15 percent while Emmanuel Rmazani Shadaray, the Kabila government's anointed candidate scored 17.9 percent. Somehow, these data either did not get to the Constitutional Court or, if they did, failed to sway the judges. With the court's verdict on Sunday, the duel was all set.
This was precisely the dangerous face-off the African Union had feared when last Thursday it suggested that the announcement of the final results be delayed. But the Kabila government which was said to have made a deal with Tshisekedi shrugged off the AU request saying it was neither ( Kabila) government's business nor “even that of the African Union to tell the court what it should do” But even before the court's decision, the preponderance of opinion was that the decision would not go contrary to the wishes of the government.
The Tshisekedi-Fayulu confrontation is an ill-wind because it holds the prospect of unleashing a national political upheaval in the DR Congo, a nightmare which no African wants to contemplate. Congo resembles Nigeria in many respects – more than 80 million – in a complex and complicated country, much of it in the morass of poverty, bristling with decades of violence and war.
Everything about the December 30 was problematic. The Kabila government flatly refused to schedule it. For more than two years after its tenure expired, it stone-walled until a frustrated, restive population led by the Catholic Church dragged it to eventually name a date. Then there was the postponement of election in parts of two provinces where conditions were not conducive. Indeed, between 16 and 18 December, two weeks to the election, 900 people were killed in ethnic clashes between Banunu and Batende in four villages in Yumbi in the Mai-Ndombe province. There was also the Ebola outbreak in parts of North Kivu province. Then, there was the mysterious fire which consumed 8,000 voting machines and millions of ballot papers forcing a week's postponement. Counting the votes was to take three days, it took 10.
Partly for the above reasons and reflecting the yearnings for stability and peace by a war-wearing population, it was no surprise that 33 Congolese non-governmental groups and civil society movement last week called on the Congolese people to comply with whatever the court ruled.
This is a huge continental emergency and a crucial test for Rwanda's President Paul Kagama and the AU leadership. Given his remarks in Addis Abba last week when he met with African leaders on the issue, he seems prepared but time is of the essence. He should mobilize the continent's leaders at once to Kinshasa to talk with Congolese leaders, some of whom are about to set their country ablaze to satisfy their selfish political ambitions.
Delicate negotiations and compromise would be required. A recount would have been an easier way out but that is too late now that the court has ruled. We think Tshisekedi should be prevailed upon to accept a government of national unity. Fayulu should accept the outcome and prepare for the next election after getting his supporters off the streets.
The Africa Peace armada should roll into Kinshaa to begin the task of preventing Congo from slipping into another catastrophe. The Congolese should be helped to achieve their first peaceful transfer of power since independence in 1960.

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