AU calls for delay in DRC final election results release

File: A supporter of Martin Fayulu, runner-up in Democratic Republic of Congo's presidential election holds the Congolese flag during a protest in front of the constitutional court as they wait for him to deliver his appeal contesting Congo's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) results of the presidential election in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, January 12, 2019. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Amid concerns over provisional results in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) presidential election, the African Union (AU) has urged election officials to postpone releasing the final results.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame talks to African Union Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat during the High Level Consultation Meetings of Heads of State and Government on the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

In a communique released on Thursday evening, the regional organization said it had “serious doubts” on the provisional results released by CENI last week putting opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi as the winner.

Of concern to the AU, was the conformity of the provisional results with the votes cast during the December 30 election.

“The Heads of State and Government attending the meeting concluded that there were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the votes cast,” reads part of the communique.

Fellow opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, who came in second, has rejected the result terming it an “electoral coup”.

Fayulu filed an appeal seeking a vote recount.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame, who is also the chairman of the AU, chaired the meeting that also brought together members from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The electoral commission said Tshisekedi had received 38.5 percent of the vote, compared to 34.7 percent for Fayulu.

Ruling coalition candidate Emmanuel Shadary took 23.8 percent.

SADC had on Thursday rowed back on a call earlier this week for a recount in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s disputed presidential election.

The Constitutional Court is due to rule by Friday on Fayulu’s complaint, but Fayulu has said he is not confident he will win before the nine-judge court, which he considers friendly to Kabila.

The United States on Wednesday kept up the pressure on Kinshasa, vowing to “hold accountable” anyone who undermines democratic processes.

The election result has also been disputed by the Catholic Church which says it deployed 40,000 election monitors across the country.

The AU is expected to send in a team led by President Kagame into the DRC with the hope of brokering a consensus on way out of the post-election crisis.

“The Heads of State and Government agreed to urgently dispatch to the DRC a high-level delegation comprising the Chairperson of the Union and other Heads of State and Government, as well as the Chairperson of the AU Commission, to interact with all Congolese stakeholders, with the view to reaching a consensus on a way out of the post-electoral crisis in the country,” the statement read.