The Democratic Republic of Congo now finally has a new President in Felix Tshisekedi. The elections board, CENI, declared Felix, the son of late veteran opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi, as the presidential election winner in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Corneille Nangaa, the head of DR Congo’s National Electoral Commission (Ceni), announced that Mr. Tshisekedi had received 38.5 percent of the vote and had been “provisionally declared the elected president”. As per the final results, Felix Tshisekedi got 7 million votes, Martin Fayulu got 6.4 million votes and Emmanuel Shadary, the hand-picked candidate of long-time President Joseph Kabila, got 4.4 million votes.
After being announced as the new President, Tshisekedi paid his respects to outgoing President Joseph Kabila and described him as a “partner in democratic change”.
“First of all, I wish to thank God, the master of time and circumstances who allowed for such an event which a few weeks ago was still unimaginable. That is why I follow it directly with – and I know many of you find it hard to accept – but I say it with sincerity, I pay homage to President Joseph Kabila, President of the Republic,” the newly elected President said, reported AfricaNews.com. “Today, we must no longer consider each other as adversaries but rather as partners in democratic change in our country.”
Addressing thousands of cheering supporters in the capital Kinshasa, Tshisekedi said he would be the president of all Congolese. Tshisekedi’s crowning as the President will mean the first electoral transfer of power in 59 years of independence in the DRC. Current President Joseph Kabila is stepping down after 18 years in office and two years after the official end of his mandate.
Meanwhile, Martin Fayulu has rejected the result, calling it an “electoral coup”.
“These results have nothing to do with the truth at the ballot box,” Fayulu told Radio France International. “It’s a real electoral coup, it’s incomprehensible.”