Lindiwe Sisulu lauds DRC for peaceful elections
International relations minister Lindiwe Sisulu has commended the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for holding peaceful elections in December.
Provisional results released last week Thursday declared Felix Tshisekedi the winner with 38.57% of the vote, just ahead of Martin Fayulu with 34.8%. Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, the candidate backed by outgoing President Joseph Kabila, came a distant third with 23.8%.
Fayulu, however, announced on Friday that he would appeal to the country's constitutional court for a recount as his bloc claimed he had won the poll with 61% of the vote.
“The election was peaceful … When you consider that there were more than 600 political parties participating, 12,000 candidates for the parliamentary election and quite a number of people also contesting the presidency, when we consider the violence that we’ve experienced in the past in the DRC, when we consider the violence that has been visiting the people of the DRC from time to time in the eastern part …," Sisulu said.
“The people of the DRC need to be congratulated for their patience, for the way in which they handled themselves. There may have been one or two incidents, but it was a peaceful outcome and we are very happy with that," Sisulu said at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Sunday.
Sisulu said it was important that the people of the DRC finally went to the polls.
“The urgency for the people was that there must be an election in the DRC. President [Joseph] Kabila was urged from time to time to make sure that there is an election.
“We wanted some certainty that he would not stand and finally … he did commit that he was standing down. And these for us are markers of how far we’ve gone in making sure that we as a region are able to protect the essence of a democracy.”