Conflict & Justice

DRC election: Calls for calm after rival Tshisekedi rejects results


Africa's elections do not necessarily bring stronger democracies. Supporters of Congolese opposition candidate Etienne Tshisekedi celebrate outside his party's offices in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo, on November 30, 2011, as they claim their candidate was ahead in the provisional results.


Phil Moore

In the Democratic Republic of Congo there were appeals for calm on Saturday after provisional results gave incumbent Joseph Kabila 59 per cent of the vote in last week's presidential election, Al Jazeera reported.

More on GlobalPost: President Kabila wins Congo election

Clashes broke out in the capital Kinshasa following the announcement, with opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi – who won 32 per cent of ballots – on Friday rejecting the result and proclaimed himself the rightful president of the DRC.

The chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Daniel Ngoy Mulunda said the results were “no reason to whip up the population against the established order.”

However Tshisekedi, leader of the UDPS party, told Radio France Internationale that the electoral commission’s declaration that Kabila had won was a provocation.

“I consider myself today the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo. I ask you to remain calm, to face the events that follow, until I give you the go-ahead.”

Tshisekedi told his supporters to “stick together as one man behind me to face the events that will follow."

He also called on the international community to take “necessary measures” to find a solution to the problem, while also avoid “the blood of the Congolese people.”

Fears of post-election violence escalated with Tshisekedi, who had tried to defy a ban on rallies in the lead up to the election, declaring himself the winner.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the Congolese to avoid bloodshed.

More on GlobalPost: Do Africa's elections strengthen democracy?

Riot police are patrolling Kinshasa where, in the central area of Bandale and eastern neighborhood of Limite, tear gas was fired to disperse protesters who were throwing stones, the BBC reported.

The army is understood to have about 20,000 soldiers on standby in the city.

Youth burned tyres and gunshots could also be heard in Kinshasa, which is an opposition stronghold.

Many market shops have remained closed for most of the week as the DRC awaited the election results, which had been delayed by several days, the BBC reported.

However in the east of the country, in areas loyal to Kabila, supporters staged victory parades.