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African Leaders Want Congo To Delay Declaring Final Results Of Presidential Election

Jan 18, 2019
Originally published on January 18, 2019 11:13 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The African Union has advice for the Democratic Republic of Congo. The African Union is a kind of United Nations for the continent, and its leaders voiced concern about Congo's disputed presidential election. They're calling on that giant country to hold off declaring final results because of doubts about the integrity of the outcome. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Congo's electoral commission declared Felix Tshisekedi the provisional winner of the presidential vote, an announcement immediately contested by another opposition frontrunner, Martin Fayulu. He alleges vote fraud and has challenged the result in the Constitutional Court. Fayulu placed second but says he won outright and has accused Tshisekedi and outgoing President Joseph Kabila of agreeing a deal to squeeze him out. Fayulu has welcomed the African Union's unusually strongly worded statement expressing grave doubts and calling for a suspension of the final presidential election result declaration.

MARTIN FAYULU: (Speaking French).

QUIST-ARCTON: "It's a good thing if the goal is to get to the truth of the ballot box," says Fayulu, adding, he believes African leaders are on the side of the Congolese people. The AU is to dispatch a high-level delegation to Congo Monday to try to resolve the post-election crisis, an initiative the authorities there cannot lightly dismiss. But information minister Lambert Mende Omalanga says no one has the right to dictate how Congo's Constitutional Court should proceed.

Perhaps the African Union has information we're not aware of, says the minister, otherwise, nothing has changed. The presidential inauguration is scheduled Tuesday. Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, NPR News, Johannesburg. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.