DRC Presidential Polls: Opposition’s Tshisekedi dethrones Kabila; secures 38.57% votes

  • January 10, 2019

Tens of thousands of cheering supporters, holding placards with signs of victory and the name of their new leader, gathered on the streets of Kinshasa to witness the fall of a 17-year-old regime and the rise of Felix Tshisekedi, the new president-elect of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The results of the long-awaited Presidential Polls were declared in the wee hours of Thursday morning. Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDSP) political party was declared the winner. He led a coalition that included another political heavyweight, Vital Kamerhe.

“Having gained… 38.57 percent of the vote, Felix Tshisekedi is provisionally declared the elected president of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said Corneille Nangaa, the head of the Independent National Election Commission (CENI).

Tshisekedi beat two main opponents, Martin Fayulu of the Lamuka coalition and Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary – candidate for the ruling coalition. He replaces Joseph Kabila, who has been in power for nearly two decades.

For DRC, this is the first handover of powers in 18 years. The elections were marred by incidents of violence and loss of several lives. The results were declared after a long delay amidst international pressure.

Speaking on his win, Tshisekedi, who is the son of late opposition icon Etienne said: “I pay tribute to President Kabila and today we should no longer see him as an adversary, but rather, a partner in democratic change in our country.”

Joseph Kabila has served as the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo since January 2001. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. He was elected as President in 2006. In 2011, he was re-elected for a second term.

Kabila’s term was due to expire on December 20, 2016 per the constitution, adopted in 2006. Officials suggested that elections would be held in November 2016. However, on September 29, 2016, the nation’s electoral authority announced that the election would not be held until early 2018. In August 2018, Kabila announced that he will step down and not seek reelection in the December 2018 general election.

Since coming to power, Joseph Kabila has faced continuous wars in eastern Congo and internal rebel forces supported by neighboring governments of Uganda and Rwanda. (Source Wikipedia)

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