AP NEWS

Congo runner-up says country’s ruling party is desperate

January 13, 2019
Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu, center, leaves the Philadelphie Missionary Center after attending Sunday Mass in Kinshasa, Congo, Sunday Jan. 13, 2019. President elect Felix Tshisekedi was also scheduled to attend the service, but cancelled. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congo’s presidential runner-up Martin Fayulu, who is challenging his election loss in court, says the government deployed armed soldiers around his headquarters because of the ruling party’s “desperation.”

Fayulu is legally challenging his defeat, saying that he won 61 percent of the vote, citing figures compiled by the Catholic Church’s 40,000 election observers across the vast Central African country. Those figures say that election winner Felix Tshieskedi only received 18 percent of the vote.

As Fayulu was preparing to file his legal challenge at the constitutional court Saturday, the Republican Guard surrounded his offices, dispersed supporters from the premises and briefly entered the property, according to witnesses.

Fayulu spoke to the press Sunday after attending mass at the Philadelphie missionary center in Kinshasa and was asked about the incident with the Republican Guard.

“I’m attributing this to desperation. But we have faith,” said Fayulu. “Our faith is intact, unshakeable, because the people have decided, and the wishes of the people will come true.”

Tshisekedi was expected to attend a service in the same church later Sunday but he cancelled for “security reasons,” according to a church press officer. Several journalists were waiting for him as Tshisekedi has made no public appearances since the announcements by Fayulu and the Catholic Church that the figures giving him victory are not accurate.

“Felix Tsishekedi spoke the day the results were announced. At this stage he has nothing to add,” said press officer Lydie Omenga on Sunday. “He has already started work and now waits for the results to be confirmed. We are serene and we let the process follow its course. He will speak at his inauguration.”

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