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The Latest: AU ‘postpones’ urgent trip to Congo over vote

January 20, 2019

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — The Latest on Congo’s election results (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

The African Union says it has “postponed” its urgent mission to Congo planned for Monday after the country’s Constitutional Court did not heed its unprecedented request to delay the final results of the disputed presidential election.

The AU Commission statement notably does not name or congratulate the declared winner, Felix Tshisekedi. It merely “takes note” of the court’s decision.

The AU earlier had noted “serious doubts” about the vote as leaked data attributed to Congo’s election commission showed that runner-up Martin Fayulu easily won.

The new AU statement “calls on all concerned to work for the preservation of peace and stability and the promotion of national harmony in their country.”

A number of African leaders have already congratulated Tshisekedi.

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5:45 p.m.

Kenya’s president is adding his congratulations to Congo’s president-elect, Felix Tshisekedi, as a growing number of African leaders accept the official results of the disputed election.

President Uhuru Kenyatta in a post on Twitter tells Tshisekedi that “Your victory is a portrayal of the confidence of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in your ideals, leadership and vision for the future.”

Kenyatta, the leader of East Africa’s economic hub, joins the leaders of South Africa, Tanzania and Burundi in offering congratulations to Tshisekedi, who is to be inaugurated on Tuesday.

African nations had appeared divided after Congo’s declared runner-up Martin Fayulu claimed massive fraud in the vote and the African Union made an unprecedented request to Congo to delay announcing the final results. ___

4 p.m

South Africa’s president has congratulated Felix Tshisekedi on his election as Congo’s president.

The statement issued on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa urges the Congolese people to accept the overnight ruling of the Constitutional Court confirming Tshisekedi’s win and to “move on to consolidate democracy and preserve peace, stability and security of the country.”

The South African statement repeatedly stresses the need for peace.

The acceptance of the election by South Africa, a regional power, comes despite an unprecedented request by the African Union for Congo to delay announcing final election results, citing “serious doubts” about the vote.

The AU has said it would send a high-level delegation to Congo on Monday.

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1:15 p.m.

The Southern African Development Community on Sunday congratulated President-elect Felix Tshisekedi and Congo for conducting elections in a peaceful manner “despite the security and logistical challenges.” The 16-nation regional bloc had last week called for a unity government and possible recount. 

The group “calls upon all Congolese to accept the outcome, and consolidate democracy and maintain a peaceful and stable environment following the landmark elections.” The body called on “all stakeholders to support the President-elect and his government in maintaining unity, peace and stability; and attaining socio-economic development in DRC (Congo). SADC looks forward to a peaceful transfer of power to the President-elect.”

Tanzania’s President John Magufuli also sent congratulations on Twitter. 

“I congratulate HE. Felix Tshisekedi on his election as President of the DRC (Congo). While congratulating all the Congolese, I beseech you to maintain peace and affirm my commitment to furthering our historic and brotherly ties,” he wrote.

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12:45 p.m.

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza congratulated Congo’s President elect Felix Tshisekedi and the Congolese people on the election result.

“Through a fully organized electoral process without outside influence and the wisdom of President Kabila, Congo has just defended its dignity and sovereignty. #Burundi congratulates the elected President, HE Felix A. Tshisekedi and the step taken by the Congolese people. ”

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12:00 p.m.

Congo’s Constitutional court confirmed the victory of Felix Tshisekedi, dismissing the claims of massive vote fraud by runner-up Martin Fayulu.

Tshisekedi’s supporters celebrated the court decision, announced early Sunday, by driving their motorcycles and cars in a procession through Kinshasa. Later the capital city was quiet, with people attending church. Other cities across Congo were also reported to be quiet.

But Fayulu’s declaration that he is Congo’s “only legitimate president” and call for the Congolese people to peacefully protest what he called a “constitutional coup d’etat” threatened to keep the country in a political crisis that has been simmering since the Dec. 30 elections.

Tshisekedi welcomed the court’s decision confirming him as the winner of the presidential election saying it was a victory for the entire country.

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