DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Mozambique's insurgency: After Palma, what comes next?

DRC: ‘Tshisekedi must apologise for betraying the people’ – Fayulu

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: The balance of power in the new DRC

By Romain Gras
Posted on Tuesday, 24 September 2019 12:01

Martin Fayulu maintains the new government are merely puppets of the Kabila regime. © Robert Carrubba for JA

The losing presidential candidate maintains that "truth of the ballot boxes" was not respected in the DRC.

Nine months later, Martin Fayulu continues to proclaim himself the winner of the presidential election and claims that it is Joseph Kabila who holds de facto power in Kinshasa.

As if to clarify his position once again, Fayulu has renamed his electoral platform from Lamuka to the  ‘Dynamic for the truth of the ballot box’.

Still convinced of his victory over Félix Tshisekedi at the end of December 2018, Martin Fayulu has not backed down. He polarises an opposition coalition more than ever divided between the hard line, which he embodies, and that of Moïse Katumbi, more moderate.

Why did you change the name of your platform?

The objective of the Dynamique pour l’unité d’action de l’opposition, through which I was a candidate for the presidential election, was to lead a fight for change in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We went to the December elections with the known outcome… Joseph Kabila chose the winner, against what really happened with the vote. Therefore, there is no longer any point in claiming to be the opposition. Our fight is to respect the results of the ballot boxes. So the name had to change.

What do you really mean by “the truth of the ballot box”?

The definition is very clear. Lamuka continues to denounce the fabrication of the results as endorsed by the Ceni[Independent National Electoral Commission] and the Constitutional Court. The truth of the ballot boxes therefore has two aspects: the recount of the minutes [PV] and the organization of early elections. If we do not want some people to lose face with the publication of the minutes, then let us hold new elections. Meanwhile, Dynamique pour la vérité des urnes does not recognize Félix Tshisekedi as president.

Knowing that Moses Katumbi is also considering transforming his platform into a political party, doesn’t Lamuka give the impression that its leaders want to take opposite directions?

What brings us together in Lamuka is the Brussels Convention, signed in April, and the declaration of 30 July, issued at the end of its Presidium in Lubumbashi. Moses Katumbi and the other leaders initialled them. There are always discussions, but we are a coalition, and the only thing that matters is the texts. After that, people have the right to speak and interpret.

Does the comparison with Jean Ping annoy you?

Why would it annoy me? Jean Ping continues his fight in Gabon. And we will also continue to organize meetings in Kinshasa and throughout the country.

Can Lamuka last until 2023?

Why not? Why not? That being said, we, the Lamuka leaders, are calling for early elections. So our deadline is not 2023. This is the thrust of the crisis proposal that was developed around the High National Council for Institutional Reform.

Precisely, this proposal has been criticized by your own side….

I’m not going to comment. We must follow the people, who want credible and transparent elections. When you say you want to be in politics, that you are a leader and that you believe in a certain ideal, you have to say things that are in line with your commitment. And if you sign a document, it means that you are committed. I challenge anyone to find contradictions between my different positions. I don’t change with every passing breeze.

Do you hold a grudge against the international community, including the African Union?

They have not been consistent. They relied on a leak [around the first results of the presidential election, given by the National Episcopal Conference of Congo, the Cenco] to carry out their action, before turning back. But it is to them that we must ask the question. I do not have to comment on their position.

The appointed government includes 76.9% of new public figures, who had never held a ministerial portfolio before. Isn’t that a sign of a change?

This is in line with the government of Joseph Kabila. These people will receive specific instructions from the latter. Where do you see a change?

The heavyweights of the previous executive are not included…

Like Felix Tshisekedi himself, these members of the new government are ‘yes men’, puppets that will be instructed. These FCC ministers[Common Front for Congo, Joseph Kabila’s coalition] went to Kingakati[the former president’s estate] to take the oath with Mr. Kabila – that’s how I interpret it. How do you expect them to be independent?

Can Modest Bahati Lukwebo speak for the opposition?

He has supported this government and, for the time being, we note that he continues to participate in the FCC. The others say he doesn’t participate, he says he does. I chaired the Forum for Democracy and Development several years ago, and Modest Bahati Lukwebo was my second vice-president.

He’s a friend of mine. But his current political orientations are not compatible with mine. Even if his independence of mind poses problems on his side, it is not bad to have differences in a political family. I consider him to be part of the FCC camp. We have to give him his freedom at the FCC.

Volunteers for the organization of the December 30 elections register the list of registered voters at the entrance of a polling station in Kinshasa © Jerome Delay/AP/SIPA

Aren’t you afraid that your fight for the truth of the ballot box will no longer be audible in a few months’ time, that we will have to turn the page?

It will exist as long as there are elections. Without a fundamental reform of the electoral commission, tomorrow no one will be able to vote.

Can such a reform by driven by remaining on the margins of the institutions?

These institutions are illegitimate. They reflect Joseph Kabila’s FCC. We told the chancelleries in Kinshasa that, for us, the red line was not Kabila itself but its system, which persists.

The fight had been successful, but Felix Tshisekedi reactivated it. He must apologize for betraying the people.

If we do not fight this battle again, how can future deadlines be different?

Understand Africa's tomorrow... today

We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.

View subscription options
Also in this in Depth:

DRC: The metamorphosis of Félix Tshisekedi

When he stepped onto the tarmac of Brussels airport on 16 September, welcomed by the Belgian deputy prime minister at the start of his first official visit to Europe, Félix Tshisekedi probably remembered the day in 1983 when he landed there with his mother and siblings.

DRC: Félix Tshisekedi’s difficult balancing act

Eight months after his inauguration, President Félix Tshisekedi is encircled by his predecessor, trying to battle internal feuds while using his personal popularity to break Kabila's grip.