DRC: Felix Tshisekedi, best elected president!

DRC: Felix Tshisekedi, best elected president!

According to figures from the Ceni, organizer of the vote, the outgoing president won more than 73% of the votes.

This had been heard for days. The announcement of the re-election of Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi for a second term (the last according to the constitution, unless there is an attempt to modify the latter) was confirmed on December 31.

According to figures provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (Ceni), the outgoing president would have won 73.34%. His second, the former governor of Katanga Moïse Katumbi, would collect 18.08%. Martin Fayulu, who would be on the third step of the provisional figures, would be satisfied with 5.33%, as for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Denis Mukwege, he would only collect 0.27%, or less than 40,000 votes out of a total of 44 million registered voters and a participation of 43%.

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With this impressive score, Félix Tshisekedi practically manages to double the figure of 38.5% announced by the Ceni in 2018, during his first victory already shrouded in mysteries and a solid dose of behind-the-scenes fiddling. (He was credited, according to figures obtained in particular by the observations of the Catholic Church, with less than 15% and third place during this election).

He also becomes the best-elected candidate in the young and chaotic democracy in the DRC. Far ahead of the 58% obtained by Joseph Kabila in the second round against Jean-Pierre Bemba in 2006, and far from the 48.9% obtained by the same Kabila in 2011 during the first one-round election in which he won ahead of Étienne Tshisekedi.

Opposition front

The December 20 vote was marked by an incredible series of hiccups, cheating and knowingly chaotic organization. The main opposition figures, unable to silence their egos before the election to present a united front in the face of the fraud that was taking shape, managed, on December 31, to sign a joint statement which “categorically rejects the sham election ”, demands “the organization of real elections” and calls on the people to “stay mobilized” to save democracy and to demonstrate against “vote thieves” throughout the country.

The first dissatisfied people did not wait for this call to take to the streets in Kinshasa but also and above all in Beni, Bunia and Goma in this eastern part of the DRC where the war resumed under the mandate of Félix Tshisekedi incapable of silence the weapons, who has multiplied the threats, who has made this war, which he presents as an aggression against Rwanda, his main campaign argument.

Balance sheet to look for

The figures announced by the CENI to crown this victory are, in the literal sense of the term, incredible. In a one-round election, facing more than twenty candidates, with a record as poor as that of Tshisekedi, these results can only be the result of a new tampering, especially when we know that the vote in Congo is ethnic approach. Certainly, the Ceni conceded victory in greater Katanga and in Maniema to Moïse Katumbi but he took first place in both Kivu and Ituri, Swahili-speaking areas where the outgoing president suffered the jeers of the crowd during his campaign.

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A Congolese crowd who expected a lot from this son of an opponent who became president and who are forced to note that the return of the prodigal son has not led to any positive progress for the country. The narrative created by its communicators highlights the free education that Félix Tshisekedi decreed and which would have brought two million children back to school. An unverifiable figure. On the other hand, it is not complicated to see that to accommodate this joyful wave of students, the DRC has built practically no schools, has not hired teachers whom it still pays poorly and erratically. , and gave no impetus to the budget of the Ministry of Education.

Complicated outlook

In this assessment, it is impossible to ignore the relations of this immense state with its nine neighbors who had kindly welcomed Félix Tshisekedi when he was appointed in January 2019. The DRC joined the bloc of countries of the East African Community (Kenya , South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi). States (with the exception of Rwanda) that Kinshasa called upon to try to bring peace to the East before humiliatingly dismissing them for lack of results.

On the Eastern Front, we must now also observe the actions of the Congo River Alliance (AFC) coordinated by Corneille Nangaa, the former boss of the Ceni, who was also one of the witnesses to the signed agreement between Kabila and Tshisekedi for power sharing in January 2019. The man announced the support of various military groups and his intention to march on Kinshasa, recalling the music that was born in the wake of the AFDL led by Laurent-Désiré Kabila who had finally overthrown Mobutu. Tshisekedi is not Mobutu but the regional balances are quite similar and Tshisekedi’s muddled and denigrating first mandate exhausted the patience of his neighbors.

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In this context, it must also be remembered that the first intense demonstrations of discontent against the announcement of Tshisekedi’s victory took place in Ituri and North Kivu, launch bases of the AFC.

Finally, after the presidential election, the time will quickly come for the announcement of the results of the legislative elections where here again, cheating reigned supreme. If Tshisekedi decided to cut himself off from a few popular barons and exchange them for his friends, he risks further increasing the discontent and swelling the ranks of the discontented.

Despite the exceptional popularity figures, the next term does not look peaceful.