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Ahead of Tshisekedi's inauguration, election results are still contested

Congo's President Felix Tshisekedi attends a final rally ahead of the presidential elections, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Monday, Dec. 18, 2023.   -  
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Samy Ntumba Shambuyi/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Democratic Republic Of Congo

On the eve of the inauguration of re-elected president Felix Tsisekedi, contestation of results remains strong in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In Bukavu, in the country's east, opposition parties and civil society movements continued to call for the December 20 election to be annulled.

"Some decided to boycott the elections, we chose to take part in them, hoping that a fair process wold be upheld," Désiré Ntahira, federal president for the Ensemble pour la république group.

"Sadly, we understood later on that elections were a trap by the ruling Union Sacré coalition. They destroyed the electoral process."

Felx Tshisekedi will be sworn in as president on Saturday (Jan. 20). 

Moïse Katumbi and Martin Fayulu, candidates who arrived second and third in the presidential race, have called Congolese to denounce irregularities they say marred the process.

Congolese are divided, some say it's time to turn the page.

"The people of South-Kivu province have had their say," Trich, a partisan of the ruling Union Sacrée said.

"They chose their representatives on the national and provincial level. We congratulate the president and the electoral commission for organizing for the first time here municipal elections."

Others say there are serious reasons for concern:

The presidential, parliamentary, municipal, and provincial "polls were highly anticipated by the population of South-Kivu, the people wanted to vote at all costs, that's what's we witnessed," Dieudonné Nsango, the president a network of civil society organizations said. 

"We also saw observers sent by political parties who not considered by officials of the electoral commission (CENI). These observers were humiliated, expelled by CENI officials acting contrary to the law. Vulnerable people were not respected either, their rights were not upheld."

Civil society groups cite the cancellation of votes for 82 lawmaker aspirants for fraud as proof of what they say felt short to being a successful electoral process.

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