Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu asserted he won 61 per cent of the presidential vote, citing Catholic Church election observers, and said he will file a court challenge to the official vote results on Saturday morning.
Fayulu spoke to hundreds of supporters who gathered in the capital, Kinshasa, to denounce what they called “the people’s stolen victory.” A heavy police presence was on hand.
A businessman and vocal campaigner against Congo’s widespread corruption, Fayulu accused outgoing President Joseph Kabila of making a backroom deal with the declared winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.
The influential Catholic Church, the rare authority that many Congolese find trustworthy, has said its 40,000 election observers found a different winner.
An official with Fayulu’s opposition coalition said Tshisekedi received just 18 per cent of the vote, according to the church’s findings.
Fayulu said he will release the results of the Catholic Church and its vote observers province by province. He told the crowd in Kinshasa that his opposition coalition will release its own results as well.
Fayulu urged that Congo’s electoral commission publish detailed results, polling station by polling station, and said he would file his court challenge on Saturday morning. He blew kisses to the crowd.
“Those who have been silly enough to publish false results, we will challenge them,” he said.
Congolese face the extraordinary situation of an election allegedly rigged in favour of the opposition after Kabila’s preferred candidate, ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, did poorly in the polls. Fayulu’s coalition said Shadary received just 18 per cent of the vote.
Some Fayulu supporters sang, “if you don’t proclaim Fayulu, we will kill each other.”
Congo has been largely calm since results were announced early Thursday, but some observers warn that a challenge to the results could bring unrest.
“Change cannot be negotiated behind closed doors and power only comes from the ballot, there is no other way,” said Fayulu supporter Jean Otaba, 28. “You can see there is no massive celebration despite the announcement. That’s because it is not the truth.”