🔒 Numbers don’t add up in DRC election: SA and neighbours must step in – FT

LONDON — What looked like a suspicion of meddling by Joseph Kabila in the election that wrested power from his tight grasp, is now emerging as fact. Expert analysis of data published by the Financial Times points to massive election fraud. According to the data, the opposition leader, Felix Tshisekedi anointed as the winner last week by the electoral commission could clearly not have been the winner. Another pointer to a power-sharing deal between Kabila and Tshisekedi is the pally pronouncements of Tshisekedi that Kabila is a “partner for change”. South Africa and its neighbouring countries should step up the pressure on the DRC now, to ensure that votes that the Congolese cast in good faith, counts. They owe it to the people of the Congo that the lingering stench of another African autocrat goes away. –  Linda van Tilburg

By Thulasizwe Sithole

Kabila was supposed to vacate his office in December 2016, but it seems like many before him, he has engineered a deal that will ensure that he will remain close to power. Two sets of data published by the Financial Times believed to be sourced from the country’s electoral commission’s servers show that the former businessman and leader of the Lamuka opposition coalition won by several million votes. Felix Tshisekedi, a former fierce opponent of Kabila ended up a distant second.

The data seen by the FT includes a set that represents 86% of votes cast. “Data experts say the numbers are both internally consistent” and would be impossible to fabricate without leaving traces of interference. The data corroborates the results collated by the Catholic Church’s 40,000 observers in the country, which accounted for 43% of the vote.

There is other evidence which also points to a deal between Tshisekedi and Kabila. Tshisekedi who has fiercely campaigned against Kabila, now calls him, “a partner for change.” Rumours are also circulating in Kinshasa that Kabila will even be allowed to stay in his presidential residence. The FT is expecting Kabila to “demand control of the most influential ministries, including security and mining” which would put him close to the country’s rich minerals.

Read also: Disputed DRC election result risks triggering unrest – analyst

Whether the constitutional court who is set to review the results over the next couple of days will take the FT evidence under consideration, is not clear. The court leans heavily towards Kabila as many of the judges have been appointed by the former President. Unlike the set of data obtained by the FT, the results announced by the electoral commission contained very little detail, “adding to suspicion that they had simply been fabricated.” What is needed is that one or two of the nine-member court need to speak out and they should instruct the electoral commission to give a breakdown of the results or conduct a recount.

There is the possibility that the court, packed with Kabila loyalists will simply ignore Fayulu’s appeal and the problem is that if they do decide to annul the election, Kabila would be buying more time in office. Mr Tshisekedi’s inauguration is less than a week away. The Congo’s neighbours, regional groups, South Africa and Angola has a small window until January 22 to increase pressure on the DRC’s electoral commission to give a transparent account of the votes. “Anything else would betray the people of Congo who turned out in their millions. The least they can expect is for every single one of their votes to be counted honestly.”