Academicians applaud win by opposition in DR Congo

Friday January 11 2019

Supporters of president-elect Felix Tshisekedi

Supporters of president-elect Felix Tshisekedi react after the announcement of provisional results of the presiden-tial election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) declaring Tshisekedi the winner yesterday. PHOTO | AFP 

By Gadiosa Lamtey @gadiosa2

Dar es Salaam. Analysts have hailed the announcement of presidential election results in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), saying the Congolese have sent a clear message that multipartism and enmity are two separate issues.

Those that spoke to The Citizen said African leaders have vital lessons to learn from the DRC, saying that whenever people wanted change, they must be given a chance to do so through the ballot box.

In the early hours of Thursday the head of DR Congo’s National Electoral Commission (Ceni), Mr Corneille Nangaa, said Mr Felix Tshisekedi had received 38.5 per cent of the vote and had been “provisionally declared the elected president.”

The full results were as follows, with turnout reportedly 48 per cent: Felix Tshisekedi - 7 million votes, Martin Fayulu - 6.4 million votes and Emmanuel Shadary - 4.4 million votes.

Speaking at separate interviews yesterday with The Citizen, political analyst, Prof Mwesiga Baregu, said Tanzania could learn that the multiparty system should not be the cause of enmity among politicians. On the contrary, he said, they should relate based on mutual respect and tolerance to one other. He noted that the DRC showed political maturity.

“The Congolese have shown that peaceful transition of power is possible. This is a big lesson that we can learn from,” he stressed.

Prof Baregu added that it was too early to tell whether things will be okay in the DRC in the aftermath of the elections, but said at least the polls body had managed to work independently and in line with constitutional principles.

For his part, the deputy director for Academic, Research and Consultancy from the Centre for Foreign Relations (CFR), Dr Kitojo Wetengere, told The Citizen that the new DRC leadership should use its vast natural sources for the benefit of the country.

He said the DRC should serve as a lesson not only for Tanzanian leaders but also all African leaders that once they were voted into office they should serve the people diligently, otherwise they would be voted out of office.

“The DRC president-elect did not win with a big margin. He clearly does not have a big mandate as he couldn’t even get 40 per cent of total votes cast, but because people were tired and desperate due to failures by the outgoing leader they decided to give him a chance,” he noted.

Tanzania stands to benefit from the potential stability in the DRC. “We have never had trouble with the DRC and we believe even after the Opposition takes power relations will continue to be cordial,” he noted.