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Briefing: Museveni, Tshisekedi Photo Goes Viral; AU Observers say DRC Polls ‘Satisfactory’

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Museveni, Tshisekedi Photo Goes Viral in Ugandan

The photo of President Museveni meeting incoming President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, is making rounds on social media.

Museveni met Tshisekedi and his family members at State House Entebbe before the December elections in DRC.

The photo has sparked off speculation that Museveni could have quietly reached out to Tshisekedi before his election as President.

For long, Museveni has been struggling to find a consistent ally in DRC to help in flushing out ADF rebels from the eastern part of the country.

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While President Joseph Kabila’s government ordered massive long distance bombardment of ADF territory, the country’s armed forces never conducted follow-up mop up operations.

This allowed ADF and other rebel groups to recruit again, mobilise and carry out fresh attacks.

Uganda is yet to congratulate Tshisekedi.

The election outcome has since been contested by opposition figure Martin Fayulu, the Catholic Church and western diplomats.

But Kabila appears determined to hand over power to Tshisekedi who has promised to serve as President of “all Congolese”.

Tshisekedi also pledged to fight corruption and restore stability in Eastern DRC.

African Union Hails DRC Elections 

DRC President Joseph Kabila

The African Union has congratulated the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo for holding peaceful elections under conditions which observers said were “satisfactory.”

In a statement on Thursday night, the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat “reiterates his congratulations to the people, the political actors, the civil society and the competent institutions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the holding of elections under conditions considered satisfactory by the Union Election Observation Mission headed by President Dioncounda Traoré.”

The President of the Commission stressed the need for “all actors concerned to act in a way to consolidate democracy and preserve peace in the country.”

In this context, said Faki, “it is important that any challenge to the results proclaimed, in particular that concerning their non-compliance with the truth of the ballot box, be done peacefully, by using the procedures provided for by the texts in force and the political dialogue between all the parties.”

According to CENI, Mr. Tshisekedi took more than 38 per cent of the votes cast, ahead of rival presidential hopefuls Martin Fayulu and ruling party candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

Shadary has since congratulated Tshisekedi for winning the race.

However, Fayulu contested the outcome as an “electoral coup” but is yet to reveal his next steps.

The country remains calm but tense.

Faki stressed that the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo requires, regardless of the final outcome of the elections, “the search for a genuine national consensus based on respect for democratic principles and human rights, as well as on the preservation and consolidation of peace.”

United Nations to DRC Politicians: Refrain From Violence  

António Guterres

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appealed for all parties to “refrain from violence” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), following the announcement of the provisional results of the long-delayed presidential election.

The vote – initially scheduled to take place two years ago, marks the vast central African nation’s first democratic transfer of power since independence nearly 60 years ago.

The Secretary-General called on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms.

The results announced by the independent electoral commission, known by its French acronym, CENI, declared opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the 30 December election.

However, the Catholic Church and western diplomats say the results do not tally with the unofficial figures gathered by independent poll observers.

According to CENI, Mr. Tshisekedi took more than 38 per cent of the votes cast, ahead of rival presidential hopefuls Martin Fayulu and ruling party candidate, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary.

Mr. Fayulu immediately rejected the result, said agency reports.

“The Secretary-General calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and to channel any eventual electoral disputes through the established institutional mechanisms in line with the DRC’s Constitution and relevant electoral laws,” said Mr. Guterres in a statement released by his Spokesperson, late on Wednesday evening in New York.

In a direct call to CENI, the Constitutional Court, the Government, political parties and civil society, Mr Guterres urged them to “each live up to their responsibility in preserving stability and upholding democratic practices” in the DRC.

And as the country prepares to enter a new era without President Joseph Kabila, who has been in power since the previous incumbent, his father, was assassinated in 2001, the Secretary-General reiterated “the continued support and commitment” of the United Nations.

Together with regional actors and international partners, the UN will work “for the consolidation of peace, stability and development” in the DRC, Mr Guterres insisted, his comments coming amid an acute humanitarian crisis made worse by sporadic conflict involving dozens of armed groups in parts of the huge country.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 12.8 million people are now food insecure in DRC, including 4.3 million malnourished children, of whom 1.3 million face severe malnutrition this year.

This is despite the country’s huge natural riches, seen as a source of illicit wealth by armed groups who continue to hamper access for aid teams, which are also tackling endemic cholera – which threatens two million people – combined with a new outbreak of Ebola virus disease in North Kivu and Ituri.

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