At least one police officer was killed during violent protest in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo following the crushing defeat of President Felix Tshisekedi’s party in Friday’s senatorial election.
Riot scenes outside the headquarters of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress( UDPS) as activists of the oldest and largest political party expressed their anger over the party’s failure to get a senate seat, despite having 12 MPs in the provincial assembly.
“There were senatorial elections here in the city of Kinshasa. Here at the UDPS we had twelve provincial members of parliament. We were hoping that we could have at least three senators. But we are surprised not to have any senator”, a UDPS supporter said.
The fury by these activists is because ex-president Joseph Kabila’s Common Front for Congo (FCC) Coalition will now take control of the entire state apparatus.
The pro-Kabila coalition controls the National assembly, the Provincial Assemblies and won 84 of the 100 seats in the Senate.
The size of the majority means, the FCC will be able to make changes to the country’s constitution or pursue legal proceedings against the current Head of State.
Local elected politicians in the country’s provincial assemblies elect the senators in each region and some of them have been accused of having sold their votes.
Governor Alphonse Ngoyi Kasanji, who was elected as an FCC senator, tweeted that “ They looted, destroyed and torched houses and vehicles. FCC MP Felicita Ngalula lost all her possessions. Her bodyguard was killed”.
Civil society member, Jimmy Bashile also said “angry UDPS fighters” had raided Ngalula’s home. He told AFP “They arrived and ransacked everything. A police officer guarding her was killed”
The police confirmed the death of one of their officers.
Tshisekedi won a surprise victory in the presidential election on December 30 after three postponements, beating opposition leader Martin Fayulu, whom polls predicted would win.
Fayulu said the result was a stitch-up between Tshisekedi and Kabila.
Nearly two months after his inauguration, Tshisekedi has been unable to push through his choice of Prime Minister as his party only garnered 32 seats out of 500 in the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, Kabila, who as a former president has become a senator for life, gathered leaders of the FCC coalition’s 18 member parties on his farm last month and pressed on them to sign a loyalty pledge, AFP said.