African Union Has ‘Serious Doubts’ About Congo Vote Results

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Mr Fayulu, a former Exxon Mobil manager, says Mr Tshisekedi, who is the president of Congo's largest opposition party, struck a deal with outgoing president Joseph Kabila to be declared victor.

The final tally for the December 30 election, which was marred by widespread violence and fraud allegations, is to be released once the Constitutional Court has ruled on challenges to the provisional results, including from opposition leader and election runner-up Martin Fayulu. He told this news website he won with nearly 59.4 percent of the vote, according to the election data collected by his team from 86 percent of the votes cast across the country. The second set of data, from the Catholic church's mission, represents 43% of the votes. Martin Fayulu has requested a recount, alleging fraud.

Some 465 houses and buildings were burned down or pillaged, including two primary schools, a health centre, and the office of the country's independent electoral commission, the United Nations said.

Another Independent body known as Congo Research Group on Wednesday published leaked data it said show Fayulu won the election by a large margin.

Vast and unstable, the DR Congo has never had a peaceful transition of power since gaining independence from Belgium in 1960. Kabila's anointed successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, came third in the poll, while Fayulu was backed by Moise Katumbi and Jean-Pierre Bemba, two of Kabila's biggest adversaries.

Voting in the presidential election was postponed in Yumbi because of the violence.

The AU statement was issued after Congo's foreign minister and deputy prime minister briefed "a number of heads of state and government" from across the continent on the crisis.

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The AU is sending a high level delegation to the DRC to consult with all parties so as to arrive at an amicable solution to the electoral impasse now being handled by the Judiciary in accordance with the DRC election laws and procedures.

AU commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame, now the AU chairman, are expected to fly in on Monday.

But countries have wavered on how to address the crisis.

On Thursday, the SADC appeared to backtrack, wary that a recount would heighten tensions, and instead urged the global community to respect "the ongoing internal legal and political processes for the finalization of the electoral process".

The AU statement noted that SADC leaders attended the wider continental talks.

This comes after it called for last month's presidential elections to be suspended. Barred from serving three consecutive terms, Kabila already has hinted he might run again in 2023. The person, who is close to Mr Fayulu's camp, asked for anonymity because the data contradict the electoral commission's official declaration.

If the Constitutional Court validates the electoral commission's poll figures, Tshisekedi will succeed Joseph Kabila, who was barred by the constitution from seeking a third term after leading the cobalt- and copper-rich country for nearly 18 years.

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