Congo top court rejects challenge to poll result, leaders congratulate Tshisekedi

Two African presidents have congratulated Democratic Republic of Congo opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi for winning last month’s presidential poll, this follows the backing of Congo’s top court, which ruled opposition challenge inadmissible.

As Tshisekedi’s supporters celebrated the ruling in the streets of Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, runner-up Martin Fayulu said the decision had opened the way to a “constitutional coup d’etat”. 

Following the court decision, the African Union postponed a visit by a high-level delegation to Kinshasa that had been scheduled for Monday to discuss the crisis. It has previously expressed “serious concerns” about the vote and called for the results to be delayed. 

Last month’s election was meant to mark the first democratic transfer of power in the vast central African country, where conflicts have regularly destabilized the region. 

But monitors pointed to major flaws in the poll. Unrest over the vote has already killed 34 people, wounded 59 and led to 241 “arbitrary arrests” in the past week, according to the U.N. human rights office. 

In the early hours of Sunday, the Constitutional Court ruled that a legal challenge to the result filed by Fayulu was inadmissible. “Felix Tshisekedi will become the fifth president of the republic,” government spokesman Lambert Mende said as he welcomed the judgment. 

Fayulu issued statements dismissing the ruling. “The constitutional court has just confirmed that it serves a dictatorial regime … by validating false results, (and enabling) a constitutional coup d’etat,” he said in one.

“I am now considering myself as the sole legitimate President of the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he added in another statement. He called for people to mount peaceful demonstrations – though the streets of the capital were calm on Sunday afternoon.

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