DR Congo election: Sadc proposes unity government

Martin Fayulu

Martin Fayulu

The southern Afri- can regional body Sadc has called for a unity government in the Democratic Republic of Congo, following the disputed presidential election.

All political leaders should agree a negotiated settlement, it said. Opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi was declared winner but another opponent of the current administration, Martin Fayulu, insists he won. He alleges Mr Tshisekedi made a deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

Mr Kabila has been in office for 18 years and the result, if confirmed, would create the first orderly transfer of power since in- dependence from Belgium in 1960. The declaration of Mr Tshiseke- di as winner has also been disputed by the influential Catholic church which says it deployed 40,000 elec- tion monitors across the country.

On Saturday, Mr Fayulu filed an appeal in the Constitutional Court demanding a manual recount of votes cast in the 30 December election. This call was supported by Sadc in its statement issued by Zambian President Edgar Lungu, who is the body’s current chairman.

He and other regional leaders felt the best way forward was a negotiated political settlement and a government of national unity, Mr Lungu said. He cited the example of similar deals in Zimbabwe and Kenya.

South Africa’s Foreign Minister, Lindiwe Sisulu, also said a unity government could prove to be an acceptable compromise for a troubled country in desperate need of peace. The legal process in the DR Congo should not be pre-empted, and outsiders should not attempt to force a settlement, she added.

Mr Fayulu tweeted to thank Sadc for backing his call for a vote recount but he did not comment on the proposed plan for a govern- ment of national unity: I thank SADC for its request for a recount to proclaim the one who has truly and legally won.

It would be dangerous not to support the democratic process in the #DRC. We call on all parties to take their responsibilities to restore the truth of polls.

Several Western governments have expressed surprise and con- cern at the declared results. Sadc’s intervention will be wel- comed by some as a wise proposal to avoid further bloodshed.

But others will see it as another weak and dangerous compromise that undermines African democ- racy, and emboldens autocrats, the BBC’s Andrew Harding in Johan- nesburg says. On Saturday, Mr Fayulu repeated that the result did not reflect “the truth of the ballot boxes”.

He told BBC Africa editor Fergal Keane: “I will do whatever is possible for me to do to get the truth because the Congolese want change.” What was the result of the presi- dential election? — BBC

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