Media reports indicate that opposition candidate, Felix Tsishekedi has won the presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo(DR Congo). This has ended 22 years of the Kabila dynasty, which started in 1997.
The Washington Post reports that Congo’s electoral commission declared Felix Tshisekedi the winner of the contentious presidential election in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday, setting the stage for the country’s first democratic transfer of power, despite delays, irregularities and evidence of fraud.
Tshisekedi’s win was announced almost two weeks after the Dec. 30 election. He garnered just under 40 percent of votes cast in a field of 21 candidates.
He will replace Joseph Kabila, who has been president for the past 18 years. Tshisekedi represents Congo’s oldest political party, founded by his father, which has spent decades in the opposition.
Today’s Echo gathers that the current president, Joseph Kabila was sworn-in in 2001, after his father, Laurent Kabila, who seized power from Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, was killed.
Kabila’s handpicked candidate to be his successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, drew the least number of votes of the leading candidates.
A second opposition candidate, Martin Fayulu, came in second despite consistently polling as the favorite. Just before the announcement of the results, Fayulu, a former Exxon employee turned parliamentarian, said in a message that a power-sharing deal between Tshisekedi and Shadary had become an “open secret.”
DR Congo is the largest country in Africa in terms of land area, and one of the most resource-rich states in the world. It is the southernmost country located in Central Africa. It is sometimes referred to by its former name of Zaire, which was its official name between 1971 and 1997.
According to the Washington Post, Around 80 percent of the world’s cobalt — an essential component of batteries for cellphones and electric cars — comes from mines in its eastern regions. Those same regions have been scarred by decades of near-constant insurrection, and dozens of ragtag armed groups still operate there. Despite the country’s natural wealth, most Congolese live in poverty, without access to electricity or clean water.