Outgoing Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila’s ruling coalition won a majority in legislative elections, a coalition official said on Saturday, despite opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi’s win in the presidential vote the same day.
The result will undercut Tshisekedi’s ability to deliver on campaign promises to make a break with the 18-year Kabila era and fuel suspicion that his victory, announced on Thursday, came through a backroom deal that will preserve Kabila’s influence over important ministries and the security forces.
Kabila is due to step down in the coming days after 18 years in power, in what was meant to be Congo’s first democratic transfer of power in 59 years of independence. But he has signalled he intends to remain involved in politics and might run for president in 2023 when term limits no longer apply.
Lawyers for the runner-up in the presidential election, Martin Fayulu, were on their way to Congo’s highest court on Saturday to file a fraud complaint.
Fayulu says he won in a landslide with more than 60 percent of votes, and accuses Tshisekedi of striking a deal with Kabila to be declared the winner.
Late in the morning, about 50 Republican Guard soldiers and police officers surrounded his residence, sending dozens of his supporters, who had been chanting against Kabila and Tshisekedi, fleeing inside, a Reuters witness said.
Tshisekedi’s camp denies that there was any deal with Kabila and says meetings it held with the president’s representatives after the election were meant solely to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.
Either way, the parliamentary majority retained by the handful of parties in Kabila’s coalition will curtail Tshisekedi’s room for manoeuvre. Under the constitution, the majority enjoys significant powers and the president must appoint his prime minister from its ranks.