The Southern African Development Community (SADC) on Sunday called for a recount of the votes from the December 30 presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The poll was widely believed to be DR Congo’s first truly democratic transfer of power in her 59 years of restive independence and the beginning of a new era following 18 years of chaotic rule by President Joseph Kabila.
Runner-up in the election, Martin Fayulu had claimed that he won the polls by a landslide and that the official winner, opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi struck a deal with Kabila to be declared winner.
This is even as isolated post-election violence across the mineral-rich country of over 80 million people has left many fearing a return to the civil-war unrest that has killed millions since the 1990s.
“A recount would provide the necessary reassurance to both winners and losers. SADC draws the attention of Congolese politicians to similar arrangements that were very successful in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya that created the necessary stability for durable peace,” SADC said in a statement.
SADC, which includes old Kabila allies, Angola and South Africa also recommended a government of national unity which would include parties representing Kabila, Fayulu and Tshisekedi in order to promote peace.
Also, the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (CIRGL), a 12-member body including Kinshasa’s allies– Angola and Republic of Congo has expressed concern at the unfolding controversy.
“We suggest that the competent structures consider counting the votes in order to guarantee the transparency of the results,” the CIRGL said in a statement.