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Congo opposition unifies behind No. 2 finisher as real ‘winner’
Question of the Day
GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo — Formerly competing Congolese opposition parties have lined up behind Etienne Tshisekedi, the self-proclaimed winner of last week’s presidential election that was marred by violence, disorder and charges of widespread fraud.
“The situation is explosive, I’m well aware. The temptation to resort to violence is extremely strong, so we are trying to do everything possible to avoid this,” Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French radio and television outlets in Paris, according to reports by Agence France-Presse.
On Friday, Congo’s electoral board declared incumbent President Joseph Kabila the provisional victor, with nearly 49 percent of the vote. Mr. Tshisekedi came in second, with 32 percent of the ballots cast.
“The people keep crying out that we didn’t vote for Kabila,” said Felix Badila Siwambanza Kali, a 58-year-old father of eight who has been unemployed for 18 years. He said Congo is desperate for change.
International observers from the Carter Center said the vote lacked credibility, but the organization “does not propose that the final order of candidates is necessarily different than announced.”
“Multiple locations, notably several Katanga province constituencies, reported impossibly high rates of 99 percent to 100 percent voter turnout with all, or nearly all, votes going to incumbent President Joseph Kabila,” the center said in a statement released Saturday.
Kamerhe supporters in North Kivu - a troubled eastern province in which he enjoys particular popularity - were quick to jump on board, followed by supporters of several smaller opposition parties.
Officials from Mr. Tshisekedi’s party said they are planning peaceful protests to begin this week in conjunction with now-allied opposition parties.
But he said they now stand behind Mr. Tshisekedi, whose supporters took to the streets in the capital, Kinshasa, not long after the announcement was made.
“The Supreme Court is corrupt,” Mr. Nguliko said in a campaign office in Goma. “They will favor the president and reject our claims.”
Four people were killed in postelection violence, which included looting, burning tires, police round-ups of dissidents and shots fired in the air, according to Agence France-Presse. U.N.-supported Radio Okapi reported six deaths.
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