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DRC Elections: AU Team Cancels Trip to Kinshasa

Regional leaders who were set to travel to DRC’s capital Kinshasa on Monday have cancelled their trip after the Constitutional Court upheld the presidential election of Felix Tshisekedi on Sunday morning.

“It should be noted that the visit of the high-level delegation to Kinshasa on 21 January 2019 has been postponed,” African Union Commission said in a statement on Sunday evening.

Called by AU chair and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the high-level consultative meeting of Heads of State and Government at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 17 resolved that DRC should delay announcement of the final outcome of the recently-concluded elections.

They said there were “serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission” and called for the “suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections.”

But the Constitutional Court today said the runner-up Martin Fayulu had fallen short of providing evidence to back his claims of rigging.

In a statement today, the AU Commission said it had “taken note” of the ruling and called on all concerned to work for the preservation of peace and stability and the promotion of national harmony in their country.

It remains unclear how AU’s decision would have been implemented considering the country’s Constitution provides that election disputes are resolved by the Constitutional Court in seven working days.

Additionally, the presidential inauguration is scheduled for Tuesday, January 22, 2019.

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The government spokesperson Lambert Mende on Friday said DRC would not take lectures from African Union on democracy.

“I do not think there is anyone who has the right to dictate to the court what to do,” said Mende during a press conference in Kinshasa on Friday.

“No country in the world can accept that its judicial process is controlled by a regional organization, but for the rest we are ready to receive our partners.”

Regarding the arrival of Kagame’s committee in Kinshasa, Mende observed: “We are members of the African Union. We have been told a delegation coming Monday. We are in discussions with them. We are waiting for this delegation. It could be that they have information that we do not have, for the rest nothing is changed,” said Mende on Friday.

Nevertheless, the AU Commission reiterated its continued availability to “accompany DRC in this critical phase of its history, as well as its solidarity with the Congolese people.”

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