Africa

African Union urges DR Congo to delay final election results

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJoy and dismay at DR Congo election results

The African Union (AU) says there are "serious doubts" about the outcome of elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and has called for the final results to be suspended.

Those figures gave victory to one opposition candidate, Felix Tshisekedi, but another opponent of the current administration insists he won.

Supporters of Martin Fayulu say Mr Tshisekedi made a power-sharing deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila.

Mr Tshisekedi's team denies this.

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule within the next few days on a legal challenge to the result.

On Friday the country's government rejected the AU's call to postpone the announcement.

"The court is independent, both of us and the African Union," government spokesman Lambert Mende said, the AFP news agency reports.

"I don't think it is the business of the government or even of the African Union to tell the court what it should do."

A number of AU heads of state and government met in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Thursday to discuss the deeply disputed 30 December vote.

"There were serious doubts on the conformity of the provisional results, as proclaimed by the National Independent Electoral Commission, with the votes cast," their statement says.

"Accordingly, the the Heads of State and Government called for the suspension of the proclamation of the final results of the elections."

What might the electoral commission do?

If confirmed, the election result would create the first orderly transfer of power since DR Congo's independence from Belgium in 1960.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Felix Tshisekedi leads DR Congo's largest opposition party, founded by his late father in 1982

The electoral commission said Mr Tshisekedi had received 38.5% of the vote, compared with 34.7% for Mr Fayulu. Ruling coalition candidate Emmanuel Shadary took 23.8%.

However, Mr Fayulu alleges that Mr Tshisekedi made a deal with President Kabila, who has been in office for 18 years.

Mr Fayulu filed an appeal in the Constitutional Court on Saturday demanding a manual recount.

A verdict could come as early as Friday, and experts say there are three possible outcomes.

The court could confirm Mr Tshisekedi's victory, order a recount, or scrap the results altogether and call fresh elections.

But the court has never overturned results before, and some think most of its judges are close to the governing party.

What do others say?

The declaration of Mr Tshisekedi as winner has also been disputed by the influential Catholic Church which says it deployed 40,000 election monitors across the country.

International experts based in the US, and the French and German governments, have also raised doubts.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionDR Congo's journey into chaos

Meanwhile, the UN says ethnic violence in the west of the country left at least 890 people dead over just three days last month.

Clashes between the Banunu and Batende communities took place in four villages in the area of Yumbi between 16-18 December, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

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

Most of the area's population has reportedly been displaced, including some 16,000 people who sought refuge by crossing the Congo river into neighbouring Republic of Congo, also known as Congo-Brazzaville.

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

More on this story