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CHANGE OF HEART: Fayulu Says He Has Forgiven Thieves Of His Victory In 2018 DRC Election

Widely seen as winner of the 2018 presidential election after Parallel Voter Tabulation by the Civil Society and Church showed he had polled slightly above 60% way ahead of incumbent President Felix Tshisekedi and then ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, Martin Fayulu has spent the last four years refusing to accept the official outcome.

President Tshisekedi was considered to have lost but awarded the presidency through a negotiated deal with former president Joseph Kabila.

Fayulu contested the official outcome but the Court rejected his claim.

After the visit by Pope Francis, Fayulu is turning the page on and accepting the status quo as the Democratic Republic of Congo prepares for another potentially volatile election.

The leader of the opposition ECiDé, who was sponsored by a coalition that was anchored on the popularity of other opposition leaders in Moise Katumbi and Jean Pierre Bemba, says he has forgiven those who “stole the victory of the people”.

Fayulu’s change of heart comes on the sidelines of Pope Francis’ apostolic visit to Kinshasa under the cloud of reconciliation.

He was the standard bearer of the Lamuka coalition.

“I thank Pope Francis for enlightening the world on the security, social and political situation in the DRC. I granted forgiveness to those who stole the victory of the people. I am committed to transparent, impartial and peaceful elections in 2023,” said Fayulu.

In his speech delivered on Tuesday January 31 before the authorities, representatives of civil society and the diplomatic corps, the Sovereign Pontiff called for “favoring free, transparent, credible elections.”

The Metropolitan Archbishop of Kinshasa Fridolin Ambongo also, in his message, said he hoped that with the message of the Bishop of Rome, the DRC will have good elections, different from those of 2018, which were marred by fraud.

“Your visit also comes during an election year, which is often a source of social and political tension in our country. With the message you brought us, on the theme “All reconciled in Jesus Christ” and trusting in your prayers, we hope to see free, transparent, peaceful and inclusive elections held in our country,” Cardinal Ambongo said.

The presidential, national and provincial legislative elections are scheduled for December 20, 2023. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) is currently conducting the voter registration exercise.

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