Tuesday February 19, 2019
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Felix Tshisekedi Gets Declared As The President Of Congo

Ahead of the ruling, hundreds of Tshisekedi’s supporters were in the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, waving tree branches and banners reading “Congo for the Congolese.”

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Congo, President, Election
Felix Tshisekedi, leader of Congolese main opposition the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party, attends a news conference in Nairobi, Kenya, Nov. 23, 2018. VOA

Congo’s Constitutional Court early Sunday declared the election of Felix Tshisekedi as president, rejecting challenges to the vote by runner-up Martin Fayulu, who had alleged fraud.

Tshisekedi, son of the late, charismatic opposition leader Etienne, is now set to be inaugurated Tuesday.

The declaration came shortly after the African Union in an unprecedented move asked Congo to delay announcing the final election results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote. It planned to send a high-level delegation Monday to find a way out of the crisis, fearing unrest spilling across borders of the vast Central African nation.

Congo, President
Supporters of Felix Tshisekedi, Democratic Republic of Congo’s opposition politician declared winner of the presidential poll, sing and dance ahead of the Constitutional Court final decision on the presidential results, in Kinshasa, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

The court turned away Fayulu’s request for a recount in the Dec. 30 vote. He had accused Congo’s electoral commission of announcing results dramatically different from ones posted at polling stations around the country. Leaked data attributed to the commission shows that Fayulu easily won.

But the court said Fayulu did not put forward proof to back his claims.

Backroom deal alleged

Outside court, Fayulu’s supporters have alleged that outgoing President Joseph Kabila made a backroom deal with the largely untested Tshisekedi once it became clear that the ruling party’s candidate did poorly in the election. Neither party has acknowledged the accusations.

Congo, rich in the minerals key to smartphones, is moving close to achieving its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960.

But observers have warned that the court’s upholding of the official results could lead to further unrest. At least 34 people have been killed since provisional results were released on Jan. 10, the United Nations has said.

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Supporters of the runner-up in Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election, Martin Fayulu, hold up a sign ahead of a political rally in Kinshasa, DRC, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

There was no immediate reaction early Sunday from Tshisekedi, who has said little publicly since the election, or Fayulu. Many people in the courtroom erupted in cheers after the declaration, along with Tshisekedi supporters who had gathered outside.

The court could have ordered a recount or ordered a new election.

It called unfounded a challenge filed by another candidate, Theodore Ngoy, that objected to the electoral commission’s last-minute decision to bar about 1 million voters from the election over a deadly Ebola virus outbreak.

Vote totals disputed

The court said Tshisekedi won with more than 7 million votes, or 38 percent, and Fayulu received 34 percent. However, leaked data published by some media outlets, attributed to the electoral commission and representing 86 percent of the votes, show that Fayulu won 59 percent while Tshisekedi received 19 percent.

Congo, election
Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu speaks to the press at his headquarters in Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

Ahead of the court’s decision, both Congo’s government and Tshisekedi’s party dismissed the AU’s request to delay the final results.

Congo’s government called it a matter for the court. Tshisekedi’s party rejected the request outright.

Also Read: Poll Recount Urged By Regional Blocs in Democratic Republic Of Congo

The continental body’s stance is “the work of some mining lobbies seeking to destabilize the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to perpetuate the looting of this country,” the secretary-general of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party, Jean-Marc Kabund, said in a statement.

He called on the Congolese people to mobilize and defend the mineral-rich country’s sovereignty.

Ahead of the ruling, hundreds of Tshisekedi’s supporters were in the streets of the capital, Kinshasa, waving tree branches and banners reading “Congo for the Congolese.” (VOA)

Next Story

WHO Makes Progress In Controlling Ebola In Congo

In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated.

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Ebola, COngo
Health workers treat an unconfirmed Ebola patient inside a MSF (Doctors Without Borders)-supported Ebola Treatment Center (ETC) in Butembo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nov. 3, 2018. VOA

Six months after the outbreak of Ebola was declared in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s North Kivu province, the World Health Organization is expressing cautious optimism that it is making headway in controlling the spread of the deadly virus.

Latest figures reported by the WHO show 752 cases of Ebola, including 465 deaths.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, says progress in containing the spread of the virus is due to a number of public health measures, including the training of health workers on infection prevention and control, closer engagement with communities, case investigation and contact tracing.

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Medical staff are sterilized before entering the isolation unit at a hospital in Bundibugyo, western Uganda, on Aug. 17, 2018, where there is one suspected case of Ebola. VOA

She says the use of a vaccine and promising new drugs have been a boon to these efforts.

“I feel optimistic,” Moeti said. “I am very clear that we need to continue this work. We need to make sure that in the places where we have made progress, we build on this progress and we do not go back. And, we are being very, very conscious of the fact that we need to invest to improve the preparedness both in the DRC areas that are highest at risk and, most importantly, in the surrounding countries that are at risk.”

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Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) workers talk to a worker at an isolation facility, prepared to receive suspected Ebola cases, at the Mbandaka General Hospital, in Mbandaka, Democratic Republic of Congo, May 20, 2018. VOA

The risk of the virus spreading to countries like Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan is very high because of the heavy cross-border traffic among the countries, Moeti said. However, she added, surveillance and preparedness activities have been enhanced on both sides of the border.

Also Read: WHO Calls for Accelerated Action To Eliminate Cervical Cancer

She says there is extensive monitoring at border crossings and improvements have been made in screening people for the virus. In addition, 2,600 health care workers in Uganda have been vaccinated. Moeti said a similar vaccination campaign began two days ago in South Sudan. (VOA)