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What tricked Congo on Felix Tshisekedi’s Appointment as New President?

Last updated on January 29th, 2019

Congolese opposition activists fought really hard to restore the faith of people back in Democracy and equality, but Felix Tshisekedi, as the new President of Congo, has brought the nation back to square one.

Tshisekedi, the newly appointed President has emerged from his father’s shadow to become in- charge of the position. His father, Joseph Kabila, assumed office at the age of 29 years, after the murder of his father, Laurent, in 2001.

As Congo went to poll, there was a wave of something new to begin, but the highly biased results changed the scenario. Felix Tshisekedi, 55, has taken over the position after a disputed vote, which was first of its kind since independence from Belgium in 1960.

Runner-up Martin Fayulu on Sunday, lost a court challenge to the election results. This happened despite presenting proof to the court about the leaked data from Congo’s electoral commission, showing that he easily won. He has also declared himself as the only legitimate president of the nation, but the move is deemed as highly controversial.

Fayulu’s supporters have accused Kabila of cutting a secret deal with Tshisekedi after the ruling party’s candidate did poorly the elections. Fayulu was seen as a potential threat to the decades-old tradition of the family rule, and was seeking to end the nations sprawling corruption.

Felix Tshisekedi “was somebody who would compromise and somebody they felt they could work with because he wasn’t saying he would launch an investigation into Kabila,” said Andrew Edward Tchie, research fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The newly elected President maintained silence on the reports. However, after the court turned down the challenge on Sunday, he told his supporters that “the Congo that we are going to form will not be a Congo of division, hatred or tribalism. It will be a reconciled Congo, a strong Congo that will be focused on development, peace, and security.” He added, nobody thought that the electoral process would be peaceful, and the opposition candidate would win.

On Wednesday, the USA said that it would look forward to working with the nation’s new government, but did not congratulate Felix Tshisekedi. Instead, they asked them to look into the leaked data and be particular about the electoral irregularities.

“The genius of it is that they rigged it in favor of an opposition candidate who they could co-opt,” said Jason Stearns, who leads a Congo-focused think tank in New York. “This isn’t the worst that could have happened, but it’s a big blow to the idea of democracy in Congo.” Kabila’s government denied allegations of vote-rigging.

Felix Tshisekedi, shrewdly made his way to the top in his father’s shadow, as he took over the most prominent opposition party a year after he passed way.

He was named as the Union for Democracy and Social Progress party’s national secretary in 2008, and was further elected as a national deputy in 2011 for the city of Mbuji-mayi in kasai Oriental province. In 2016 he became the party’s vice secretary.

The unexpected results though have left many in a state of shock, destroying all their hopes of living in a free and a democratic world.

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