The United States on Wednesday became the latest international body to recognise embattled Felix Tshisekedi as the duly elected president of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), choosing to hail a historic peaceful transfer of power. over concerns of election fraud.
The United States joins the African Union and European Union in signaling they were ready to work with Tshisekedi, showing no appetite to prolong uncertainties in the violence-prone country despite rival Martin Fayulu’s allegations of widespread fraud.
“The United States welcomes the Congolese Constitutional Court’s certification of Felix Tshisekedi as the next president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo,” State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement a day before the former opposition leader is set to be inaugurated.
“We are committed to working with the new DRC government. We encourage the government to include a broad representation of Congo’s political stakeholders and to address reports of electoral irregularities,” he said.
The US also hailed outgoing president Joseph Kabila for peacefully ceding power, a first in DR Congo since its 1960 independence from Belgium, although Kabila stayed beyond his term.
“The United States salutes the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for their insistence on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power,” Palladino added.
The US had earlier acknowledged concerns about the polls and called for transparency as the Constitutional Court heard the challenge by Fayulu, a former oil executive who alleges that he received 61 percent of the vote and accuses Tshisekedi of plotting an “electoral coup” with Kabila.
The EU had earlier said that “doubts remain” after the top court on Sunday declared Tshisekedi the next president.
But regional power South Africa set the tone soon after the court decision by urging all sides to accept the finality of Tshisekedi’s win and to “move on to consolidate democracy and preserve peace, stability and security.”
Unrest over the vote has already killed 34 people, wounded 59 and led to 241 “arbitrary arrests” for the week after the provisional results were announced on Jan. 10, according to the U.N. human rights office.