Congo opposition leader Martin Fayulu pronounced his first speech during a rally on Saturday since losing a disputed election, rejecting any outreach by the new president, Félix Tshisekedi, and calling for “peaceful resistance”.
Fayulu told thousands of supporters who gathered in the capital of Kinshasa that he will not resort to violence as he continues to oppose what he calls a rigged election and to declare he won the vote.
He vowed to tour the vast central African nation, press the United Nations and African Union and not obey the orders of Félix Tshisekedi, “the person we have not chosen”.
Amongst many signs at the Saturday rally, two read “actually elected President Martin Fayulu” and “the truth from the ballot boxes” as massive crowds gathered at the Sainte-Thérèse square, located in the poor neighbourhood of Ndjili in Kinshasa. Organizers claim more than 20,000 people showed up.
According to the country’s Constitutional Court, Fayulu lost a court challenge to Tshisekedi in the December 30 election results, despite leaked data from the electoral commission showing Fayulu had easily won.
The United States and others, including many Congolese, have accepted the results, in order to favour stability. Tshisekedi was sworn in as the country’s president on January 24, in what became RD Congo’s first peaceful power transition since its independence.
Fayulu has denounced an “electoral coup” orchestrated by former president, Joseph Kabila, with the blessing of Tshisekedi.
Kabila, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 18 years, still has a large legislative majority.
“I have no personal problems with Felix Tshisekedi, he’s my brother. It is not so much him, but those who appointed him, those who want to go against the will of the people. So what I’m saying is, first, we need the truth from the ballot boxes,” Fayulu told media outlets after his speech.
He called for a “peaceful resistance”, even though some of his supporters have demanded armed resistance.
Fayulu has run out of legal appeals under the Congolese law, after the Constitutional Court rejected his appeal.
“We will pursue our efforts with the international judicial authorities,” he added.