The African Union has called for the final announcement of last month’s disputed presidential elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DRC) to be suspended due to “serious doubts”.
The rare move on Thursday from the bloc creates fresh uncertainty into the post-election process, which was meant to usher in the vast country’s first democratic transfer of power since independence in 1960 but has been mired in controversy.
“The Heads of State and Government attending the meeting concluded that there were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the votes cast,” the AU said in a statement after a meeting at its headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.
As a result, it has “called for the suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections”.
The AU also agreed to urgently send “a high-level delegation” to the DRC’s capital, Kinshasa, in an effort to find a way out of the political crisis.
Provisional results controversy
The electoral commission last week declared opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the long-delayed December 30 vote with 38.57 percent of the tally against chief rival Martin Fayulu’s 34.8 percent.
Fayulu, who is challenging the provisional results in court, said it was an “electoral coup” forged in backroom dealings between Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since 2001.
The country’s constitutional court is due to rule on the legal action later this month.
“Even if the situation on the ground has been fortunately calm so far, it obviously remains a cause for concern,” AU chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat told African leaders including from South Africa, Zambia and the Republic of Congo gathered to discuss the vote dispute.