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ELECTORAL FRAUD: I Won DRC Elections In 2018; Tshisekedi Signed Deal With Kabila

Opposition leader Martin Fayulu says the people of Congo must fight to have a credible election that will not produce another stolen result negotiated outside the ballot box.

In a recent interview with journalists, Fayulu says the events of 2018 that gave birth to the Felix Tshisekedi presidency should never be allowed to happen again.

“Mr Félix Tshisekedi is where he is simply because he signed a deal with Mr Kabila (…) I won the 2018 presidential election,” Fayulu, who initially said he will not contest the 2023 polls until the electoral register is credibly audited, said.

“I’m in, there’s no boycott. I am a presidential candidate in 2023 but in a credible election, that is to say a transparent, impartial, inclusive and peaceful. I cannot disappoint the Congolese.”

In June 2020, Fayulu also wrote for the FINANCIAL TIME in which he detailed how the Congolese election was stolen.

The ECIDE leader is hopeful that the international community, the Congolese civil society and the general population will be vigilant to protect the vote in the December 2023 polls.

READ PARTS OF THE STATEMENT BY FAYULU IN THIS REPRODUCED ARTICLE ON THE 2018 STOLEN ELECTION

Congolese voted on December 30, 2018 in huge numbers to replace Mr Kabila’s corrupt system. It would have been the country’s first genuinely democratic transfer of power. But Mr Kabila, after nearly two decades in office, had no real intention of giving up.

As the ballots were tallied, he realised he would be unable to package a fraud in favour of his chosen successor, who came third. So instead Mr Kabila resorted to a power-sharing deal with the second-placed Mr Tshisekedi. My wide victory margin was meanwhile wiped out. Days later, the electoral commission announced the false results and declared Mr Tshisekedi the victor.

When this happened, a kind of international cynicism prevailed, which held that the blatant electoral theft was “good enough” for Congo — at least there had been a vote.

This attitude flows from a retrograde notion that Africans, and the Congolese in particular, are incapable of choosing their leaders freely. Yet Malawi’s encouraging example this week, where the opposition won a fresh election after a first vote was declared a fraud, points the other way.

It was therefore especially troubling when some African countries joined in the DRC’s electoral travesty. I shall never forget how the Kenyan president (Uhuru Kenyatta) pressed me, via his emissaries, to surrender my (rightful) claim to the presidency and accept a position of vice-president, although it does not even exist in our constitution.

The consequences of that stolen election are now evident. Mr Kabila used the same fraudulent system to declare majorities for his coalition in both chambers of parliament, and most of our country’s provincial assemblies. This placed Mr Tshisekedi, despite his title as president, under his effective control.

The result of this has been institutional gridlock between two poles of power that are concerned exclusively with political survival. To compensate for his lack of influence, Mr Tshisekedi has appointed dozens of special advisers at the presidency, each with the rank of minister, further bloating a costly executive.

It is easy to think of Congo’s problems as being distant. But, like a pandemic they transcend borders, the collective price of inaction is large; be it via the climatic consequences of the destruction of our rainforests or the northward migration of our people.

To stabilise the DRC, our institutions need an overhaul. We must end the electoral commission in its current format and guarantee the independence of the constitutional court. Our religious leaders, given their neutrality, should also convene a roundtable between all stakeholders to lay the ground for consensual structural reforms. Failure to do so will perpetuate illegitimacy.

The Congolese are pushing for change. I am proud of civil society’s work and, as the rightful victor of the 2018 election, I will keep doing my part to spur positive change. I urge our country’s often complacent elites to play their part too.

The killing of George Floyd in the US reminds us that only when justice and prosperity are realised in Africa will people of African descent get the respect they deserve worldwide. Yet our nation is suffocating under the crippling weight of illegitimacy. The Congolese people deserve far better.

CREDIT: Additional Reporting By Financial Times

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