The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Félix Tshisekedi, was declared the winner of the recent elections Sunday, despite the opposition condemning the results and claiming electoral fraud.
The elections, which happened in late December, were marred by widespread disruption. Two candidates for the parliament were killed in separate incidents and the EU cancelled an electoral observation mission due to security concerns. The election had to be extended into a second day after it emerged that around two-thirds of polling stations opened late and one-third of voting machines didn’t work. Protests against the electoral commission (CENI) went ahead in Kinshasa last week, despite being banned by Tshisekedi and saw police implement a harsh crackdown on demonstrators. Opposition leader, Moïse Katumbi, wrote on X that:
After the sham elections organized by the CENI, the Congolese people decided – as the Constitution gives them the right to do – to take charge and march peacefully to demand a real election. The only response was that the population encountered shooting and indiscriminate violence from the police. There are several injured. This is unacceptable!
CENI announced that Tshisekedi received over 70% of the vote, with Katumbi receiving 18% and Martin Fayulu receiving just over 5%. Both Katumbi and Fayulu have rejected the election results and urged their followers to protest the “sham” election. However, several leaders from other African nations, including the President of Kenya, William Samoei Ruto, have congratulated Tshisekedi on his victory.
The DRC is known for its rich biodiversity and is a significant source of valuable materials. It is the number one producer of cobalt in the world and Africa’s top producer of copper, making it a hotspot for mining but also vulnerable to exploitation. Human Rights Watch expressed concerns in September 2023 that the demands placed on the region are exacerbating abuse and human rights violations.