KINSHASA (Reuters) – Security forces on Monday surrounded the home of Democratic Republic of Congo’s main opponent, Moise Katumbi, who came second in last month’s disputed presidential election, one of his spokespersons said.
The opposition and independent observers have criticized the way the December 20-24 elections were conducted and raised doubts about the transparency of the vote in which President Félix Tshisekedi won a second term.
Katumbi, who came second with 18 percent, was among the main opposition candidates who ruled out challenging the results in court, citing an alleged lack of independence of state institutions.
He added his voice to opposition calls to cancel the elections, citing “massive fraud”, and on Sunday urged the international community not to recognize the provisional results announced by the Congolese electoral commission.
A spokesman for Katumbi, Hervé Diakesse, said security forces had surrounded his second home in the southern province of Haut Katanga, where the politician lives, and were preventing him from leaving.
“We have a hard time understanding why,” he said by telephone.
The Congolese government spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Logistical setbacks, a missed election day and an opaque vote count have fueled a conflict that threatens to further destabilize a country the size of Western Europe, which is the world’s top producer of cobalt and other industrial products precious.
Only two opposition candidates out of 18 presidential candidates filed appeals to contest the results with the Constitutional Court, which was hearing the case on Monday.
(Reporting by Ange Kasongo, writing by Sofia Christensen, editing by Ed Osmond)
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