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13 Jan 2019 12:23
'Peace is an essential part of the democratic process,' says International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. (Dirco)
International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has broken the department’s silence on the provisional results of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s December 30 elections.
Opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi was named the provisional winner on Thursday, winning 7-million votes, 38.6% of the national electorate, according to electoral commission CENI.
Sisulu said on Sunday the government had waited to respond to the election results following a United Nations Security Council meeting this past week over the DRC’s Catholic Church’s findings that runner-up opposition leader Martin Fayulu was the winner of the election.
Bishop Marcel Utembi, who heads the organisation of the DRC’s Catholic bishops (CENCO), has urged the Security Council to ask the election committee to release data on its counting process “to allow for verification”, news agency AFP reported.
Sisulu said the election results were a high priority for the Security Council.
Fayulu will be challenging the election results in the Constitutional Court after declaring Thursday’s election results as “a true electoral coup”.
Fayulu came a close second to Tshisekedi with 6.4-million votes, 34.8% of the national electorate and was favoured to win the election in early opinion polls.
The UN, South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have welcomed the peaceful elections.
“This is the first comprehensive election in the DRC since its independence,” Sisulu said.
“I think the people of the DRC need to be congratulated for their patience,” continued Sisulu, commending the relatively peaceful election and the wait pending the release of the election results.
“Peace is an essential part of the democratic process,” Sisulu added.
READ MORE: DRC presidential runner-up asks court to cancel result
The SADC observer mission to the DRC will announce its findings on the election results on February 2.
Businessman Andre Hanekom has been located in Mozambique. Sisulu said the South African high commissioner in Mozambique has “made himself available” to support Hanekom.
READ MORE: SA man accused of terror-related activities in Mozambique to appear in court
Hanekom was shot and arrested in Mozambique in August last year after he was accused of supporting and aiding terrorist activities in northern Mozambique. He has remained in the country after he was relocated to another centre before he could be sent home after he was granted bail in October.
His family who have spoken out to the media have denied these claims, telling the Sunday Times that he has been framed so that “influential people” could gain access to Hanekom’s properties in Palma, Mozambique.
Read more from Gemma Ritchie
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