The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is now urging the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sunday to recount the votes of its presidential election, raising pressure on Kinshasa to ensure the legitimacy of the next government and avert widespread violent unrest.
SADC had previously said the election went “relatively well” despite some problems. But on Sunday it said it had taken note of the “strong doubts” cast on the poll by the Church.
Sunday’s intervention by (SADC), contains regional allies of Kinshasa like South Africa and Angola, could push Kabila to tackle the presidential runner-up’s accusations that the vote was rigged.
“A recount would provide the necessary reassurance to both winners and losers,” an SADC statement said.
At the same time, The 16-nation SADC recommended a government of national unity including parties representing Kabila, Fayulu and Tshisekedi that could promote internal peace.
“SADC draws the attention of Congolese politicians to similar arrangements that were very successful in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya (that created the) necessary stability for durable peace,” the statement said.
The chances of this kind of unity in Congo appear slim for now. Fayulu, who is backed by bitter political rivals of Kabila, on Saturday filed an election complaint with the Constitutional Court to have the result overturned. He has called for a hand recount of the votes
The Dec. 30 vote was supposed to mark Congo’s first uncontested democratic transfer of power in 59 years of restive independence, and the beginning of a new era after 18 years of chaotic rule by President Joseph Kabila.
But irregularities including faulty voting machines, poorly run polling stations and a halt in the vote for over a million people due to insecurity and an Ebola outbreak in the east, have overshadowed talk of democratic progress.