Catholic Church Rejects DRC's Presidential VoteSkill Level 6, Published on: Jan 12, 2019
The Catholic Church rejected the official result of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s presidential election on Thursday. And the losing candidate called the result a “robbery.”
Election officials announced that opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi won the election. He is set to replace President Joseph Kabila, who has ruled the Democratic Republic of the Congo for 18 years.
But pre-election studies had predicted an easy win for Martin Fayulu, another opposition candidate.
The influential Catholic Church had 40,000 observers at voting stations across the country. It said its own findings did not support the official results. Three diplomats briefed on the Church’s mission said their findings clearly showed Fayulu had won.
The Church said in a statement, “The results from the presidential election as published by CENI [Independent National Electoral Commission] do not correspond to the data collected by our observation mission from polling stations and vote counts.”
Fayulu claimed that election officials helped Tshisekedi to win as part of a deal to protect members of the outgoing Kabila administration. He called the official result a “robbery” and asked supporters to “rise as one man to protect victory.”
Fayulu has led anti-government demonstrations. He has also spoken out against corruption in the Congo, a country rich with minerals.
Tshisekedi’s supporters celebrated his victory. But Thursday’s action by the Church could make it harder for him to win wider acceptance.
Police said three people were killed in the eastern city of Kikwit, where Fayulu received strong support. But much of the country appears to be staying calm.
Many Congolese fear that a dispute could restart violence. Civil wars in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have killed millions of people since the 1990s.
“Opposite of what we expected”
The international community has not congratulated Tshisekedi on his victory. Many appeared to be watching for the reactions of Fayulu’s supporters.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the results “are the opposite to what we expected.”
European Union spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic said, "We are also waiting for the reactions of different observation missions that have observed the elections…and partners, particularly in Africa.”
Read the following vocabulary with your teacher.
brief (v.) - to give information
correspond (v.) - to be similar or equal to something
polling (n.) - voting station
outgoing (adj.) - leaving a particular position
particularly (adv.) - something that deserves special mention
Answer these questions about the article.
- What did Catholic church of Congo do?
- Why did they reject the results of the election?
- Has Fayulu been against the government?
- How did the international community react?
Make a sentence.
Make sentences using these words.
brief, polling, outgoing, correspond
Have a discussion on following questions.
- How elections in your country look like?
- Is it peacefull?
- Do you vote?
- Do you think it is important to vote and be an active citizen?