“HUGE fraud” has taken place in the elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), analysis by the Financial Times suggests.
The investigation lends further weight to claims by the Roman Catholic Church that the official result is at odds with the findings of its 40,000 observers.
The DRC’s Electoral Commission (CENI) announced last month that the opposition leader, Félix Tshisekedi, had won the vote on 30 December (News, 4 January).
The next day, the President of the Congolese Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa, told the UN that this did not correspond with its observers’ tallies. Publishing the data “might dispel doubts among the population as to the outcome and may therefore set minds at rest”.
Although the RC Church has declined to name the candidate it believes to have won, analysis of its data by the Financial Times indicated that the opposition candidate Martin Fayulu had won 62.8 per cent of the votes.
Mr Fayulu, who led pre-election polls, told Radio France Internationale that an “electoral coup” had taken place. He is challenging the result in the country’s Constitutional Court. Mr Tshisekedi and the incumbent, Joseph Kabila, have denied allegations that they have struck a deal.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for a recount, noting “strong doubts cast on the poll outcome by the . . . Church, the opposition coalition, and other observers”.
The Church’s data is one of two sets analysed by the Financial Times. The other, representing 86 per cent of total votes cast, showed that Mr Fayulu was “the clear winner”, it said. “The analysis points to huge fraud . . . The new figures support the Church’s assertion last week that the Electoral Commission published false results.”
Spokespeople for both CENI and the African Union have defended the electoral process to the UN.