Congolese voters hungry for peace are ready to welcome President-elect Felix Tshisekedi to power, even if alleged election rigging may have led to his victory. “I am very happy with his designation as our democratically elected President-elect Felix Tshisekedi,” Hervé, a 30-year-old unemployed resident of Kinshasa, the capital, told VOA. “Since I was born, I have never witnessed a peaceful handover of power,” he added. Tonton Kasongo, 30, a hairdresser, echoed the desire for peace. “The way I see it, as a son of this land, I want peace for this country,” he told VOA. “Since we didn’t have any gunshots, we are happy, because the one who is elected is the one we are going to call ‘Dad.’ I voted Fayulu because he, too, is a son of this land. Since he did not win, he needs to be patient and wait for the next time around.”
International observers say all available evidence points to massive fraud in the country’s December 30 election. The Democratic Republic of Congo’s influential Catholic Church says it witnessed widespread irregularities at the polls.
But voters in Kinshasa, the capital, told VOA this week they’re happy to see the peaceful transfer of power and grateful to outgoing President Joseph Kabila, in office since 2006, for stepping aside, regardless of the likelihood of rigging.
Based on the Church’s observations at thousands of polling stations and an unprecedented data leak representing millions of votes, analysts believe the election’s true victor, Martin Fayulu, won by more than 6 million votes, despite losing to Tshisekedi by nearly a million ballots, according to the official tally.