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Another African Bloc Calls For Vote Recount in DR Congo

Another African bloc has called for a recount of the contested Democratic Republic of Congo presidential election, echoing the Southern African Development Community’s stance.

The International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL), a 12-member body including Kinshasa allies Angola and Republic of Congo, expressed “great concern” at result announced on Thursday, 10 January.

The elections commission CENI declared Felix Tshisekedi winner of the election with 38 percent of the votes.

Martin Fayulu came second, with the ruling party’s Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary coming third.

Fayulu, who had been considered to be the strongest candidate, alleged fraud in the election, lodging a court petition to challenge the result.

“We suggest that the competent structures consider counting the votes in order to guarantee the transparency of the results,” a statement from CIRGL read in part.

The DR Congo’s December 30 election was held two years later than initially scheduled, as CENI in November 2016 said it could not conduct the vote due to logistical challenges.

Opposition figures accused President Joseph Kabila of sabotaging the electoral process as a means of clinging on to power, allegations he denied.

With mounting pressure from regional and international communities, the DR Congo government early last year set the election date for December 23, before pushing it to 30th after a fire razed down one of CENI’s storage facilities.

Should the process move smoothly to completion, the DR Congo will witness its first peaceful transfer of power since its independence in 1960.

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